Plant a tree, take a hike

Spring is on its way—time to get outside and do stuff!

California Bay Laurel—it’s native and its fragrant leaves are useful in the kitchen.

California Bay Laurel—it’s native and its fragrant leaves are useful in the kitchen.

Get out there and plant a tree!
Just a little reminder that we are smack-dab in the middle of California Arbor Week (Mar. 7-14). What was formerly Arbor Day was expanded in the state of California this year to make for a whole seven days of fun, eco-friendly tree-planting.

I recently received a press release from Stephanie Bolmer of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) containing some useful information on the correct way to plant a tree.

“Dig the hole two to three times the width of the root ball,” the ISA press releases advises. “Do NOT dig deeper than root ball depth. Make the sides of the hole slant gradually outward. For bareroot trees, neatly cut away any broken or damaged roots. Soak the roots for a few hours prior to planting to allow them to absorb water.”

As for the actual planting, “Gently place the tree in the hole. Partially backfill with the soil from the hole, water to settle the soil, then finish back-filling the hole. Tamp the soil gently, but do not step on the root ball.”

Other pointers: “Do not stake unless the tree has a large crown or the planting is situated on a site where wind or people may push the tree over,” and then only stake for no longer than one year. Soak the soil well, but wait until next year to fertilize. “Spread two inches of mulch over the planting area, but do not place it up against the trunk,” and, of course, “be sure the root ball has plenty of water throughout the year.”

For more tree-care info, go to ISA consumer-ed site

As tree-promoting nonprofit organization California ReLeaf ( puts it, “Help plant California’s future. Trees are one of the best investments you can make in your community.”

Be on the lookout for Stanky the Butt! (Learn more at <a href=""></a>)

PHOTO Courtesy of gregg payne

Get ready to hike
Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (BCCER) just announced its Saturday spring-hiking series, which begins March 26. The 10-hike series opens with a full-day hike (deemed “difficult”) focusing on the natural history of the BCCER and led by Chico State professor emeritus Paul Maslin. Other hikes include Jadea White’s “moderate” natural history/nature photography hike on April 3, and widely known local birder Dawn Garcia’s April 17 and 23 bird-banding hikes (“easy”).

All hikes begin at the Chico Park and Ride at 9 a.m. Hikes are limited to 15 people, so sign up early: Call 898-5010. Go to for more info.