How to Plant a Tree

Joining the pledge to halve deforestation by 2020

Trees play a very important role in our survival and the survival of our planet. Not only do trees produce oxygen and sequester carbon dioxide, they also provide homes for animals, recharge groundwater, replace soil nitrates, and prevent erosion and more. The importance of trees goes far and deep into our everyday lives and the balance of the entire ecosystem. In terms of climate change, forests are considered one of the world’s largest banks for all of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities.

30 percent of the world’s land surface is made up of forests and researchers estimates that there are currently approximately three trillion trees on earth. While this may sound like a high number, since the dawn of human civilization, deforestation has accelerated and according to United Nations Environment Programme, over the last decade, the world has lost 80% of its original forests. The gross number of trees lost annually because of humans is estimated at 15 billion. This means that if we don’t do something about it, we can lose all of our trees in just 200 years.

And the world is taking note. During the 2014 UN Climate Summit in New York, over 150 countries, subnational governments, companies (including Sime Darby), indigenous peoples’ organisations and non-governmental organisations, came together to sign the New York Declaration on Forest, a pledge to commit to restoring over 150 million hectares of forests and halve deforestation by 2020.


Sime Darby's tree nursery at our Jentar Estate, in Pahang, Malaysia

For Sime Darby, the journey to restore our forest began in 2007, with the launch of our Group-Wide Tree Planting Initiative called the Sime Darby Plant A Tree Programme. As part of the programme, Sime Darby has set a target of planting 1 million trees across the Group by 2020. We have planted a total of 820, 664 trees to date, which ranges from Endangered, Rare and Threatened (ERT) species planted in our estates, to various fruit trees being planted at various townships under our development. Our Plantation Division is currently focused on reforesting 160 ha of unplanted area in our Jentar Estate, Pahang with ERT trees. To that end, we established a nursery in Jentar Estate since September 2013, to breed ERT forest tree species. To date, the nursery houses almost 50,000 seedlings comprising of 47 species. Out of the total, 25 species are ERT whilst another 22 are forest trees which are endemic to the adjacent Krau Wildlife Reserve in Pahang. With the theme “Plant Today for Tomorrow”, our efforts are not just about growing trees, but nurturing hope. A hope that future generations may benefit from the rich diversity our forefathers enjoyed.


So how does one plant a tree? From our tree nursery in Jentar Estate in Pahang, Malaysia, we bring you the proper step-by-step guide, to planting your own tree and making your contribution to reducing deforestation.
  • Step 1: Determine Depth of Planting Hole
    As a general rule, trees should be transplanted no deeper than the soil in which they were originally grown. The width of the hole should be at least 3 times the diameter of the root ball or container or the spread of the roots in the case of bare root trees.
    Remember to not plant it way too deep as it will have the tendency to shorten the trees' life span.
  • Step 2: The Planting Hole
    Dig a pit at least twice the diameter of the root ball and deep enough to place the root flare even with (or up to 1 inch higher than) the soil line. If you are planning to plant more trees, each tree has to stay at least 15 feet away from the other trees. Place the tree in the hole, taking care to handle it by the root ball—not by the trunk.
  • Step 3: Backfill soil
    Make sure the tree is straight before backfilling. Finely chop the soil and remove any stones or debris. Fill the hole halfway, watering thoroughly as you go, then finish backfilling. Firm the soil so the tree is vertical and adequately supported, but do not pack the soil.
  • Step 4: Post-planting checklist
    • Mulch - To conserve moisture and promote water and air penetration, the back filled soil surrounding newly-planted trees can be covered with mulch consisting of material such as bark, wood chips or pine needles.
    • Watering - Make sure water is applied to the original root ball. Adjust water according to soil type, temperature, rainfall, and other irrigation.
    • Pruning - Remove only broken or badly deformed branches the first year. Begin a regular pruning program the second or third year after planting.
    • Staking - This can protect the stem from mowing equipment. If needed, the best materials are wide and flexible, such as plastic horticultural tape or canvas webbing. Don't forget to remove it as soon as the tree can stand alone.

Good luck in planting your tree. Together, we can make a difference.
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