100 Reasons to Plant a Tree
Add them up and there must be
one hundred reasons to plant a tree:
The buds of May inlaid with dew. 1
The verdure of the summer leaves. 2
Winter twigs -a filigree 3
against the sky’s gunmetal hue.
Refreshing shade when days are hot, 4
and autumn colours -red and gold. 5
Rot down leaves to make leafmould 6
and mulch it round your veggie plot.
They’re shelter from the rain and hail. 7
They rustle in a gentle breeze 8
but make a windbreak in a gale. 9
There’s a hundred reasons for planting trees.
Planting trees can make you healthy. 10
Plant a tree and put down roots. 11
Planting trees can make you wealthy 12
if you sell the fruits.
For volunteers it’s pure enjoyment. 13
Lonely people meet new friends. 14
For forestry workers it’s employment. 15
Young offenders can make amends. 16
For students it’s an education. 17
For tree-dophiles it’s masturbation. 18
Give a park some art and culture
with a living willow sculpture. 19
or maybe a pleached hornbeam hedge 20
will smarten up your driveway’s edge,
or plant a weeping willow tree
to make your garden look Chinese. 21
They instigate precipitation 22
by a process called transpiration.
They’re home to many types of primate:
gibbons, gorillas, chimpanzees. 23,24,25
They’re a carbon sink, which helps the climate. 26
There’s a hundred reasons for planting trees.
Tree roots prevent erosion. 27
Mycorrhizal fungi fix nitrates in the soil. 28
Trees provide natural antiseptic lotions 29
such as neem and tea tree oil.
Ashamed of belonging to the jet-set?
Plant some trees as a carbon offset! 30
Big polluting industries
green-up their image by planting trees. 31
The shady leaves of the London Plane
keep the city air much cleaner. 32
Oak-aged sherry comes from Spain. 33
In Greece the pine trees make retsina. 34
Birch sap wine and maple syrup 35,36
are local specialities,
like Bavarian Ham from Central Europe, 37
cured in the smoke of wood, from trees.
Mulberry trees are the source of silk. 38
Trees give shade to coffee plantations. 39
There’s palm oil, raffia and coconut milk. 40,41,42
Burn the wood in a power station 43
to generate sustainable energee…
There’s a hundred reasons to plant a tree.
Think of Christmas with no Christmas tree 44
nor sound of log fires crackling! 45
There’d be no work for royalty 46
were they never asked to plant a sapling.
Wood for window frames and doors, 47,48
rafters, pillars, walls and floors. 49,50,51,52
Most of the produce exported from the tropics
is grown on trees… but hey!... don’t knock it
…imagine a world that had no chocolate! 53
Genuine corks that aren’t made of plastic, 54
rubber, charcoal, aspirin, mastic, 55,56,57,58
the tannin used in tanneries 59
…all these products come from trees.
Even the sheets where I scribbled this poem 60
were once just bundles of xylem and phloem.
Build a sturdy wooden bridge. 61
Line an avenue with Wellingtonias. 62
Plant a fifty-foot-high beech hedge. 63
The General Sherman in California 64
is the largest living thing on earth.
Plant a tree to celebrate a birth. 65
A memorial tree for the dear departed 66
and a willow casket for the body 67
can be a balm for the broken hearted.
You’ve read the books of Oliver Rackham, 68
twitched the treetops with Bill Oddie, 69
bewitched by Springwatch while Chris Packham
talks tree-talk with Michaela Strachan. 70
Coppice a tree and it sprouts again. 71
Polish the wood to see the grain. 72
Since flies were fossilized in amber
tree rings have tracked the passage of time. 73
They’re a makeshift clothesline for light-weight campers 74
and something little boys can climb. 75
Children love a game of conkers. 76
Lovers kiss beneath an arbour. 77
Nutty squirrels go totally bonkers 78
stocking up their winter larders.
Trees are features in the landscape. 79
Trees are landmarks,
and those moments 80
when you’re lost, a tree is handy
to climb and see which way is homewards. 81
Tree huggers need something to hug. 82
Birds need trees to make their nests in. 83
Trees are great for wood-boring bugs. 84
Owls need hollow trunks to rest in. 85
His father’s tree upon the ground did
make George Washington an honest bloke, 86
and Charles the First escaped the Roundheads
hiding in the Royal Oak. 87
Newton’s ideas gained gravity 88
through sitting under an apple tree.
Birnam Wood dismayed Macbeth. 89
Tarzan travelled by liana. 90
Lord Buddha mused on life and death
beneath a tree and reached Nirvana. 91
Winnie the Pooh lived in a wood 92
with his little friends.
The Major Oak sheltered Robin Hood 93
and all his Merry Men.
Envisage the embarrassment of Adam and Eve
if they’d had no fig tree leaves! 94
A nectar source for honey bees. 95
Carve a religious effigy. 96
Define a property boundary. 97
Give yourself some privacy. 98
Maintain the timber industry. 99
…and of course, the one hundredth reason to plant a tree:
it inspires my fantastic poet-tree! 100