#PlantATreeForGroot – The Unofficial FAQ

Here’s what you need to know about #PlantATreeForGroot:

What is #PlantATreeForGroot?

#PlantATreeForGroot is a social media campaign started by actor Vin Diesel in response to the #ALSicebucketchallenge that swept social media in summer 2014.

Vin Diesel accepted director James Gunn’s ice bucket challenge but added, “I raise you: Plant a tree for Groot!”

The original video:

Vin Diesel followed up with photos of himself doing exactly that:


Source: Facebook

James Gunn accepted the challenge the next day, and many of Vin Diesel’s followers on Facebook and Instagram have also posted pictures of themselves planting trees in response to his challenge.

Who is Groot?

Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_Groot_movie_posterGroot is a sentient alien tree-like creature who appears in various Marvel comics and on the big screen in Guardians of the Galaxy, where he was played by Vin Diesel. Groot has a limited vocabulary in English and is most famous for his catch-phrase “I am Groot.” He was named “the breakout character of summer” by The Hollywood Reporter, thanks to a funny scene at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy where Groot dances.

What kind of tree should I plant?

When deciding what kind of tree to plant, the most important thing is to choose a species that grows in your climate. If you live in the United States, start by looking up your USDA Hardiness Zone. Water requirements are another factor to consider, especially if you live in the Southwest or Mountain West. Some trees may grow well in your hardiness zone, but require too much water to survive without frequent extra watering. If watering restrictions are placed on your area during drought, trees of this type are likely to die. Therefore, it’s smart to buy a tree with low water requirements if you live in an arid or semi-arid region.

The easiest way to find a tree that will grow well in your climate is to plant a native species.

Once you’ve found a few species that will grow in your area, consider your needs. Do you have the space for a large tree like an oak or hickory, or are you better off with a small tree like a dogwood? Would you like a tree that changes color and loses its leaves in fall (deciduous) or one that stays green year-round (coniferous/evergreen)? Would you like a tree that blossoms in spring or produces fruits or nuts for your family (or the local wildlife) to eat?

Here at the Mast Tree Network, we recommend planting native fruit and nut trees, which provide all the benefits of any other kind of tree, plus delicious and nutritious food for people and wildlife. Our favorite naturalized fruit and nut trees are also an excellent choice for many regions of the country.

If you live in the United States, the Arbor Day Foundation has an excellent search engine that can help you find the perfect tree for your region and needs: Tree Wizard. Another great resource for recommendations is your local extension service.

Where should I plant the tree?

When selecting your tree, pay careful attention to its estimated height and diameter at maturity. This information is very important when deciding where to plant your tree. If you plant your tree in the wrong spot, you may end up having to cut it down within a few years.

First and most importantly, don’t plant a large tree under utility lines! This absolutely guarantees a dead or severely mutilated tree.

Next, consider the diameter of the tree when it is full grown. If you plant trees too close to walls, fences, roofs, driveways, or sidewalks, they can cause serious damage to your property if they drop branches on your car or home or break up pavement with their roots. Planting trees too close to each other is also damaging, as one or both trees can become stunted.

Finally, consider the tree’s purpose and try to maximize its benefits. For example, by planting deciduous trees on the southern side of your home, you can block summer rays and reduce air conditioning costs in summer while allowing winter rays to shine through and warm your house. (Learn more about using trees to reduce utility bills.)

How do I plant a tree?

Before digging a hole, make sure you know where any underground utility lines or pipes are located. If you are unsure, many utility companies will come out and mark the locations for free.

The planting hole should be the same depth as the pot or root ball, but about twice as wide. Planting a tree too high can cause its roots to dry out, while planting it too deep can cause it to rot. The hole should be wider than the root ball to allow the roots to spread out quickly and stabilize the tree.

Remove any plastic or metal pots and rip burlap or other biodegradable coverings before planting.

Water the tree, but don’t overwater, as this can suffocate the tree by preventing air from reaching the roots.

It is not necessary to fertilize trees when planting.

Mulching around the tree is recommended, as it helps conserve moisture. However, be careful not to pile up mulch around the trunk of the tree, as this encourages rot and disease and can kill the tree. Think “donut,” not “volcano”. (Just say no to mulch volcanoes!)

Staking trees is usually not necessary, and can even damage the tree if done improperly or unnecessarily. Learn more at To Stake or Not To Stake.

For complete instructions, we recommend the Arbor Day Foundation’s Planting a Tree guide.

I want to #PlantATreeForGroot but I don’t have a yard. How can I participate?

You have two main options: plant your tree elsewhere or donate to have a tree planted in your name.

Many local organizations offer tree planting drives and campaigns that enable residents to plant trees in parks or other green spaces in their local area. An excellent nationwide resource is the Alliance for Community Trees, which hosts National NeighborWoods Month, which is held every year in October and offers tree planting events around the country. (Find an event near you.)

If you prefer to donate money and have one or more trees planted in your name, there are many organizations that can help. Here is a partial list:

Where can I follow the challenge as it unfolds?

How can I help spread the word?

  • Take the challenge and post about it on social media using the hashtag #PlantATreeForGroot
  • Share promo images with the hashtag #PlantATreeForGroot. Here are some good ones:

Anything else I should know?

Consider registering your tree with the Billion Tree Campaign. Originally founded in 2006 by the UN Environment Programme with the goal of planting 1 billion trees worldwide, the program is now run by Plant-for-the-Planet and has recorded the planting of more than 12 billion trees worldwide!

As of late August 2014, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge has raised more than $53 million to fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Let’s see if we can plant 53 million new trees!

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