It was a delightful scene for many visitors, young and old, at Kampung Dek
Permai, Selangor, on August 18, 2003. Armed with 20 000 young trees, these
Malaysian volunteers were united by a task which was to plant trees on six
hectares of land.
Kampung Dek Permai was chosen as its environment had been
damaged as a result of indiscriminate logging. The aim of this activity was to
protect the ecosystem and, at the same time, allow future generations to live in
a healthy environment. As this activity involved teamwork, it became a symbol of
friendship and helped to create awareness of the importance of protecting the
environment. The organisers hoped that what the volunteers were going to do
would set an example for others.
The happy participants, made up of 900 residents of Kampung Dek Permai and
600 school children and teachers, cheerfully rolled up their sleeves and worked
together. Those who attended included the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and the
headman of Kampung Dek Permai, who spoke briefly at the opening ceremony.
Before planting the trees, the participants were briefed by Ayub Musa from
the Department of Agriculture, who had the crowd in stitches with his
step-by-step guide to tree-planting. The talk was informative as Ayub related in
detail how a tree is planted.
If you want to plant a tree, according to Ayub, you will need to gather all
the things you require: a young tree in a plastic bag, a large water container,
a trowel, garden scissors and some mulch, which is a mass of dead leaves and
bark, spread around a plant for protection or to enrich the soil. Ayub mentioned
that the next step is to handle the young tree with tender, loving care so that
it can grow healthily. "Always hold the plant at the bottom, and never hold it
by the stem. You would never dream of carrying a baby that way! Feel free to
stroke the plant gently as you handle it - it is a living thing that needs
affection too!" he added jokingly.
"Next, while holding the young tree in the plastic bag, soak the entire
plastic bag in a large container of water. Keep it under water and check that
all the air bubbles are gone. Then use a trowel to dig a hole where you want the
young tree to grow. Ensure that the hole is at the right depth to match the
height of the plastic bag. It must not be too deep or too shallow. This is very
important. Carry the soaked young tree over to the hole. You are now at a very
important stage of the process. Now cut through the plastic bag, making sure
that the roots are not damaged. This may cause the plant to die."
The next step, according to Ayub, is to place the young tree into the hole
that has been prepared. "Remove the plastic bag completely. If the soil
surrounding the roots breaks off while you are removing the plastic bag, do not
panic! Just collect it and place it in the hole as neatly as possible," he said.
"Do not forget to cover the hole with the soil that you have removed earlier,
using the trowel or your hands. Press the soil down firmly, but not too hard or
too lightly, as that may cause the plant to have problems in growing." Ayub
added that the last step is to place wet mulch around the young tree. The mulch
will provide protection as well as nutrients for the roots. "It
must be wet and hold enough water for the plant to grow healthily over the next
few months," Ayub emphasised.
When the talk was over, the participants got down to work. After a tiring two
hours, the whole area was covered with young plants. By the end of the
tree-planting activity, it was clear from the smiles all around that something
lasting had been sown in their hearts. It was the seed of a special friendship,
very much like the young trees in the fertile ground of Kampung Dek Permai.
If you want to plant a tree,
you need a young tree in a plastic bag, a large water container, a
trowel, garden scissors and some mulch. Hold the young tree gently at
the bottom and not by the stem. Soak the entire plastic bag that
contains the tree in a large water container. Ensure that there are no
air bubbles. Then, dig a hole with a depth that matches the plastic
bag's height. Carry the tree over to the hole and cut through the
plastic bag carefully so the roots will not be damaged. Put the young
tree into the hole and remove the plastic bag completely. Fill the hole
with soil and press the soil down firmly. Lastly, place some wet mulch
around the young tree.