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Here’s how to plant a tree in Mérida

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Veronica Garibay
Veronica Garibayhttp://yucatanmagazine.com
Verónica Garibay Saldaña is a Mexican columnist, communications major, and poetry enthusiast. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Hurricane Grace was responsible for many fallen trees when it passed through Yucatán. Although local services were quick to remove trunks and branches, the process is slow when it comes to planting new specimens.

Officers clear a fallen tree at Avenida Itzaes while Tropical Storm Grace passes through Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

For those looking to speed up the process, or add life to any public — or private — space, here’s the state’s regulation on planting a tree.

Depending on the species and its habitat, trees need special care to grow into adulthood. When planted in the city, they often grow in unfavorable conditions: cramped spaces that share with the traffic of vehicles, people, pets, sidewalks, and parks.

For them to grow healthy and not pose a danger to properties or citizens, one must consider Mérida’s infrastructure. When choosing the spot for planting the tree, take into account the location of overhead and subway electrical networks, water pipes, and irrigation systems. 

Makulis trees are famous throughout the state thanks to their ample pink canopies. Photo: Courtesy

The hole in which it will be planted must be of adequate depth, around 50 cm deep, which will allow the tree to grow without interference.

They must not obscure traffic signs or lights, and it is advised to leave a five-meter distance at corners, to avoid blocking visibility at street crossings.

It is important to be informed about the characteristics of the species you are acquiring, particularly its size. Small trees are those which grow up to 10 meters high, medium trees are 10 to 20 meters, and large trees measure over 20. The diameter range of its crown is another important fact.

The wrong tree can overcrowd Merida’s narrow streets. Photo: Sipse

The root must also be taken into account, since some species are not able to go deep due to the rocky terrain of the state, which causes them to expand through the surface. In Yucatán, with its limestone soil, the most suitable trees are those with taproots — whose primary root system grows vertically downward — which can go deep even in rocky conditions.

The Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán (CICY) recommends the use of native trees for urban tree planting.

Ciricote trees are popular thanks to their ample shade and fruits, which are often used for sweet desserts. Photo: Courtesy

As these trees are already adapt to Yucatán’s environment, it will help us avoid problems such as collapse to hurricane winds, fractured sidewalks, invasion of spaces, branches falling on avenues or vehicles, and inhibition of the growth of other plants.

Some of the large native trees recommended for cities are beek or oak, makulís, ciricote, ramón, and Indian guaya.

If you’re looking for small and medium-sized trees — more suitable for home patios, CICY recommends flor de mayo, balché, katsin ek’, k’anisté, and guayacán.

Flor de Mayo is a popular small tree, often found in the sidewalks of residential areas in Mérida. Photo: Courtesy

If you intend to plant a tree in a public area, you must start a procedure with the City Hall, which will evaluate the space and provide recommendations as to which species to plant, and how to do so.

The city’s government has implemented an “adopt a tree” campaign, in which citizens can request a young tree for their home, school, or company.

If interested, contact arbolado.urbano@merida.gob.mx or 999-942 0025 Ext. 81463. Or visit the Vivero Municipal Poniente on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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