The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is today! I am told that Wayne Tholen, Steve’s dad and co-founder, used to tell people that all the time. I find that every time I hear that statement, I snicker a little. It is true on many levels, and then again it is a bit outdated today.
Wayne used to say that because a shade tree takes many years to do its job, shading a structure, a patio, or providing a place for a boy to learn how to climb. The point is, the sooner you plant the tree, the sooner you will reap some benefits. So, no matter if it is April, August, or October, if the tree was dug at the right time, you can successfully transplant it.
Twenty years ago, you could make a statement about what could have been done on your property. Now, there are more new subdivisions than we could have imagined 20 years ago. Just think of the growth that Kankakee County experienced in the last 30 years. So instead, we can consider who will own our properties in twenty years and think, “Boy, it would have been nice if someone had planted a shade tree twenty years ago when they built this house.”
An experienced gardener can age a subdivision based on the size or species of its trees. For example, in subdivisions built in the sixties we often find Honeylocust trees, in the seventies and eighties Silver Maples were the norm. In the nineties, a lot of Ash trees were planted. So how will your subdivision be recognized? Since the turn of the century, I think a lot of subdivisions will be dated by their lack of trees! Understandably, people who have just built a new home have blown the budget by the time they get to landscaping, however, planting a tree now will help them decrease their cooling costs in the future by hundreds of dollars. Remember that tree planting will save you money in the long run…a bit of an investment!
As I was writing this, I thought of what a great analogy it is to call a tree an investment. Just like choosing a stock to invest in, you have to consider your needs, in the short term and long term, how much you can afford to spend, what you need to get out of it and how fast. Does it have pros and cons? Then there is the question of future investments, watering requirements, fertilizer and more. Depending on the type of tree and the size you choose initially, you will start to get shade within 10-20 years. So you are asking, what is the dividend? The shade and energy savings ($$) will far exceed your initial investment! You will continue to reap that benefit for 30+ years.