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Plant a Tree, Create a Memory

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

This Friday, April 27, is NATIONAL ARBOR DAY.  This is a day set aside to celebrate the value that trees add to our lives and to promote tree planting and care.

Arbor Day began in Nebraska 145 years ago.  At the time Nebraska was mostly prairie land.  During its first celebration in 1872, it is estimated that more than one million trees were planted across the state of Nebraska.  But, it was not until 1970 that Arbor Day became recognized nationwide.

There is a Greek proverb that seems fitting:  A SOCIETY GROWS GREAT WHEN OLD MEN PLANT TREES WHOSE SHADE THEY KNOW THEY SHALL NEVER SIT IN.

Take a moment and think about this proverb.  A new tree is planted for the future.  I guess I could be considered an old man now.  My sons are both grown men and have been surrounded by plants their whole lives.   And, now with a grandson, my goal is to teach him the love of plants.  Can you imagine if we planted a million trees in Central Virginia?  It seems that we are driven to destroy our natural wooded areas with all the developments that are being constructed everywhere.

Here are a few tree facts:  Trees are by far the most dramatic and dominant plant featured in a landscape.  Trees perform many valuable functions such as visual screening, creating a point of accent, providing shade, and creating windbreaks.  Trees also provide habitat for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife.  Trees help to clear the air we breathe.  Trees provide cooling through the shade they create.

  1.  One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and produces four tons of oxygen.
  2. The Virginia state tree is the Cornus florida “white flowering dogwood”.
  3. Planting trees improve water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion.

The most common reason for planting trees is for the shade that they provide. Both deciduous and evergreen trees can be used for this purpose, but you must carefully choose the right tree for the right spot and for the right purpose.

Here are a couple tips on how to plant a tree properly:

  1.  Decide where you want to plant,  Keep in mind that you are planting for the future and you need to know the growing characteristics of the tree (height, width, etc.).
  2. After you plant the tree, don’t just forget it.  It is important to water young trees during the summer months.  Take care of it and watch it grow.

Now, you can take planting a tree project one step further by considering planting one of our native trees.  Native trees support our wildlife.

Here is a list of native trees to consider planting in support of National Arbor Day:

  1.  Red Maple
  2. Pawpaw
  3. Serviceberry
  4. River Birch
  5. Eastern Redbud
  6. White Fringetree
  7. Flowering Dogwood
  8. Eastern Redcedar
  9. Oak trees – White, Scarlet, Willow
  10. Tulip Poplar

Have fun planting a tree and please involve your family.  Make it a family outing.  You won’t regret doing it.

HAPPY GARDENING !!!!!

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