When I was a young child, I used to collect firewood with my brothers and sisters. But the wood was right outside the door! We could simply walk outside the door and pick up dry wood. Now, I have to walk for one whole day to find enough firewood for the week. Is it possible that some day I will have to walk two or three days?!
Planting trees is one way to save our wood supply.
Where is the best place to plant a new tree? First decide what kind of tree you want to plant. Then observe where that kind of tree grows naturally. Plant the tree seed or seedling in a similar place. If you find tree seedlings sprouting by the roadside or in fields, then plant those kinds of trees in sunny, open areas. Trees that are seen growing on the forest floor — those kinds of trees should be planted in shaded areas only.
You can use the branches of some kinds of trees to grow new trees. Simply cut a branch from a tree. A good size for a cutting is about two metres long — about the same length as an adult man. When planted, one third of the cutting should be below ground and two thirds should remain above the ground. Choose branch cuttings from trees that grow well in your region to make living fences and green borders.
Did you know that you can plant trees in pasture?
Some farmers plant fruit trees in pasture. Yes, trees are growing in the same fields where their animals graze. They protect the trees from the animals at first, until the trees are bigger. Some popular trees are avocados, oranges, mangoes, mangosteen, and papayas. It’s a good idea to plant the trees in rows. There should be about twenty or twenty-five metres between each row of trees. This way the trees will not shade the pasture too much, but you’ll still have enough trees to get a good crop of fruit. Experiment with the spacing to see what is best for you. For example, if you want to harvest more fruit, plant the trees close together.
Plant fruit trees in pasture. Make the most of trees.
A living fence is a row of trees or shrubs planted together to form a barrier. It can be used the same way as other fences — to mark boundaries or to contain livestock. Living fences last longer than regular fences. And you don’t have to cut down trees to make this kind of fence. Instead you plant more trees!
To make a fence, grow trees in a line and then attach wire to them. Or grow trees very close together — so close that animals can’t pass through them.
The branches from a living fence can be used for fuelwood. The leaves can be used for livestock fodder. Some trees provide fruit and medicine. There are many tree species that can be used to make fences. Grow a fence for every purpose.
If you want to be a successful tree grower, listen to this.
Be early and plant trees in the opening rains. Don’t wait until the final rains. If you plant trees early in the first rains they will survive drought and dry weather. Their roots will grow long and strong.
Weed the trees and then weed them again and then weed once more! Weeding trees by yourself is hard, hot work, but if you plant rows of crops between the trees, then as you weed the trees you are also weeding the crops. You will get an immediate return from your efforts. But plant tree seedlings at least 75 centimetres away from the row of trees.
Finally, just as the rains are ending, weed again.
We call this system P.W.P. — Plant early, Weed constantly, Plough again.
Before any tree planting, thoroughly plough the area — trees and grass are an impossible combination.
Spots #1-5: Based on information from DCFRN scripts 25-6, 35-3, 35-5, 46-6.
Spot #6: Contributed by: Brian Polkinghorne, Director, Kimkumaka Training Centre, Tanzania.