Why We Plant Trees – an excerpt from ‘The Book of Trees’

From ‘The Book of Trees’, Alfred C. Hottes, 1932

Why We Plant Trees

  1. We plant trees because we love them. Some trees linger in our memories as old friends, from whose branches we have swung and “skinned-the-cat”; under whose cool shade we have rested from play or work.  Some trees seem to have moods, changing from day to day, season to season, and from youth to old age.
  2. We plant trees for their beauty of leaf, whether green in Summer or red in the Autumn; for the delicate tracery of the branches which frame our view of the eternal blue or star-scattered heavens; for their flowers which seem like giant nosegays.
  3. We plant trees to shelter our homes from the Summer sun and the cold sweeping winds of Winter.
  4. We enjoy a touch of Nature to form a background and a frame for our architecture.
  5. We plant trees to furnish leaf cloisters for the birds which awaken us from our too-late slumbers when all the world of Nature, except ourselves, is awake. The birds pay a liberal rent to the tree in the form of the hordes of insects which they devour. Where would our gardens of fruits, flowers, and vegetables be if it were not for the vigilant birds which catch more than we could spray?
  6. We plant trees because, where they expand their verdant branches the air is purer and less dusty. The medical societies are constantly advocating the planting of city trees to temper the heat of Summer on the torrid pavements.
  7. We plant forest that floods may be prevented; that fertile soil shall not be carried to the valleys below; that rainfall may be regulated.
  8. We plant trees for their economic use – lumber, furniture, turpentine, rubber, quinine, nuts, cork, paper, windbreaks and one thousand and one uses for which we have as yet found no substitute.
  9. We plant avenues of trees in cities and along the roadsides because we believe that no road or street is dressed or finished until it has bee planted to furnish shade, frame vistas of outlying beauty, and prevent snowdrifts. Aside from this aesthetic and civic value, the realtor knows that trees increase the value of property. Business on a tree-bordered avenue is likely to be brisker than on a sun-parched thoroughfare.

10. Some of us plant trees that we may be silent witnesses to the life processes of the tree.

Bow Point Nursery

We enjoy pruning a tree to our whims, improving its fruits by breeding, and its vigor by supplying plant food.

We are interested in a tree for pure botanical and horticultural reasons. The strength of its woody fibers, the incomparable complexity of its flowers, the abundance of its fruits, and the growth processes fascinate us.

We take joy in supplying a fit environment for a growth that approaches perfection.


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