Tomorrow, April 26 is Arbor Day, a day set aside for planting trees. But, what do you do if your property has enough trees? How about planting trees for somebody else? Or, how about giving the trees on your property some TLC?
Have you ever been to Nebraska? It’s flat prairie land and, in the 19th century, was very devoid of trees. In 1872, however, J. Sterling Morton set out to change that. Mr. Morton had served in Nebraska politics and, in the 1890s, was Secretary of Agriculture in
President Grover Cleveland’s cabinet. Mr. Morton also edited a newspaper in Nebraska City. He remembered growing up in New York’s forested north country and wanted to see more trees on the Great Plains. So, he crusaded for a day to be set aside for the planting of trees. Today, every state celebrates Arbor Day, and New York’s is always on the last Friday in April.
Getting back to Arbor Day activities for you and your family. You may know of a neighbor or friend who can’t afford a tree, or one who is disabled and unable to plant a tree. You can also join with a group like a school group, community group or Scout unit to plant trees in public spaces. They could always use help.
If you have lots of trees on your property, take some quality time with your family to walk around your yard and look at the trees, and touch them. Look up, look down, look straight ahead. Do they look healthy, or are they starting to look a bit long in the tooth? Are there cracks in the bark? Are there dead or dying limbs, or limbs that have broken off and are hanging precariously? Do you see any insects chewing on the leaves? Or are there any fungi growing on the tree, especially at the base?
The late Dr. Alex Shigo is, arguably, best know for his advice to “touch trees.” The father of modern arboriculture believed that we had to get up close and personal to really experience the splendor of these largest living organisms. We invite you to do the same this Arbor Day.
If you find anything out of the ordinary, our best advice is to call in an arborist to confirm your diagnosis and to correct the problem. After all, it’s Arbor Day, and your trees certainly deserve a gift on their special day. Think of all they do for you 24/7/365. They provide shade, sequester carbon, provide us with the oxygen we breath, help control water run off and soil erosion, add value to our property and some provide us with delicious fruit.
Friday may not be convenient for every family. So, mark Arbor Day on Saturday or Sunday. Any day can be Arbor Day. There are only two periods during the year when trees should not be planted – in the heat of summer and when the ground is frozen in winter.