By Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
While Mississippi celebrates Arbor Day on the 2nd Friday in February, nationally, April 27, is Arbor Day. With this in mind, let’s talk about trees!
There are many benefits of trees: They improve the beauty of the landscape, provide shade and shelter, cool homes in the summer, provide wood for commercial or domestic use, enhance habitat for wildlife, filter nutrients and other water pollutants, provide oxygen, provide food products, and help reduce flooding and soil erosion.
Since the Delta is currently suffering from flood like conditions, let’s focus on that last benefit – helps reduce flooding and soil erosion. When several inches of rain are received daily for many days, you are going to have some flooding especially in low areas, but under normal conditions, trees can help reduce flooding.
When plants grow in an area, the roots of plants dig deep into the soil and create space between soil particles. As water flows it drains into the space created by the root system of plants, reducing the flow of water. When plants are absent, water is prevented from seeping into the ground dumping more water into ditches, rivers and lakes than they can handle.
Trees and other forms of vegetation can act as barriers to water flow. The more trees there are, the slower the water flow. This slowing down of water gives it time to be absorbed into the soil rather than being washed away and being dumped into water bodies. Larger trees present in the path of water flow can significantly reduce this flow as the surface area of tree trunks will be higher. Trees and other vegetation also reduce the soil erosion effect of water.
So, the next time you plant a tree, stop and think about how trees are terrific for many different reasons.