Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Free Tree

Cooperative Extension at the University of Arizona held a festival for vendors of sustainable landscaping products and services.  There were booths and food trucks and lots of very smart people sharing information and trying not to judge.

They knew how to plant things and how to maintain things and how to irrigate things.  They were giving away literature and advice and making appointments for home visits.  There were doers-of-good deeds, looking for clients and volunteers and donations.  There were tours of the Master Gardeners' Demonstration Gardens.

And there was the Civano Nursery volunteer giving away free trees, courtesy of Tucson Electric Power.  Trees are good for the environment.  The more of them we plant, the cleaner our air will be.  Trees have branches which provide long term and short term habitat for birds and bees.  Their root systems help to stabilize and aerate the soil.... and our soil needs all the help it can get.

And, perhaps more important to TEP, planting the bigger, leafier trees on the south and west sides of our homes will keep them cooler, putting less strain on the electric grid during our scorching, summer months. During the year, our power company sells 5 gallon trees for $5; on Saturday, they were giving them away for free.

I cannot ignore free plant material. I, like most gardeners, am willing to cannibalize friends' yards for pups and sprouts and cuttings.  I couldn't walk past a tree that would cost $30 or more at the nursery, a tree straight from the grower, who raised it locally, from proven stock, a tree that would fit in The Uv, a gift from the gardening gods.

So, I stopped and looked and listened as he described the dimensions the available specimens would achieve, "although you can always trim them back."   I chose the wispy, small white flowers, more of an accent than a shade tree - a palo blanco.

The tree and I got home just as the irrigation began to sputter on.  I put the container in a corner I'll see every day, moved a drip line from a well established oleander and buried it under the mulch, then stepped back to admire my work... which was done.

All that's left is to ask the yard guys to dig the hole, this one and the one in the back for the new rose bush.  I'm saving my energy for tasks which I enjoy, like finding free trees.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!