NETFUND Ag. CEO Samson Toniok, Kajiado County officials, staff and the local community planted 10,000 tree seedlings in different institutions within Kajiado North Sub County on December 9 – 10, 2019. During the exercise,1,500 seedlings were planted in Oloolua Primary, 1,000 in Enomatosiani Girls High School, 1,500 in PCEA Church Enomatosiani, 1,500 in Ongata Rongai Primary School, 1,500 in Nkaimurunya Primary School, 1,500 in Nkaimurunya Secondary School and 1,500 in Olekasasi Polytechnic.

NETFUND’s tree planting activities aim to contribute to attaining the national target of growing 2 billion new trees by the year 2022. According to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Keriako Tobiko, 500 million tree seedlings shall be planted in the FY2019/2020, which ends in June 2020. Another 600 million seedlings shall be planted in FY2020/2021 while 800 million are targeted in FY2021/2022.

Speaking at Nkaimurunya Secondary, NETFUND Ag. CEO Samson Toniok, challenged the local community to ensure that the planted tree seedlings grow into maturity by caring for them.

NETFUND Ag. CEO Samson Toniok shows Lilian Macharia, a standard four pupil at Nkaimurunya Primary School how to plant a tree seedling

Tree growing is an investment for current and future generations

Growing trees is a lifelong investment, which requires long term and sustained effort and commitment.  The choice of tree seedling, planting location, and care provided during and after planting determines their maturity and ultimate environmental, economic, and social value.

How to plant a tree seedling

According to the International Society of Arboriculture, 2019, the following steps show how you can plant and grow a tree seedling:

  • Locate all underground utilities prior to digging. This involves mapping out the site including nature of the soil, water availability and the climatic conditions of the location.
  • Identify the trunk flare. The trunk flare is where the trunk expands at the base of the tree. This point should be partially visible after the tree has been planted.
  • Dig a shallow, broad planting hole. Holes should be 2-3 times wider than the root ball, but only as deep as the root ball.
  • Remove the containers or the seedling bags. Inspect tree roots for straightening, cut, or remove the unnecessary ones.
  • Place the tree at the proper height. Take care to dig the hole to the proper depth – and no more. If the tree is planted too deep, new roots will have difficulty developing because of a lack of oxygen.
  • Straighten the tree in the hole. Before backfilling, have someone view the tree from several directions to confirm it is straight.
  • Fill the hole gently, but firmly. Pack soil around the base of the roots to stabilize it. Fill the remainder of the hole, firmly packing the soil to eliminate air pockets that may dry out roots. Further, reduce air pockets by watering periodically while backfilling. Avoid chemical fertilization at the time of planting.
  • Support weak trees that cannot stand upright on their own, only if necessary. Studies have shown that trees establish more quickly and develop stronger trunk and root systems if they are not staked at the time of planting.
  • Mulch the base of the tree. Mulch is organic matter spread around the base of a tree to hold moisture, moderate soil temperature extremes, and reduce grass and weed competition.

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