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Celebrate Arbor Day

Arbor Day is this Friday, April 28. Why not begin a family tradition that will brighten the lives of future generations?

If you have to work on Friday and kids are in school that day, fear not. Observe Arbor Day on Saturday, Sunday or even the following weekend. It’s all about the trees, and they don’t care when they’re planted.

The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska in 1872, thanks to journalist J. Sterling Morton. The prairie transplant looked out across the treeless plains and sought to change that bleak landscape. Other states soon began holding their own Arbor Days on dates that best suited their growing seasons. In 1970, President Richard Nixon declared the last Friday in April to be National Arbor Day. So, you see, Arbor Day isn’t bound hard and fast to a particular date.

Regardless of the date your family observes Arbor Day, just make sure you do it as a family and that you get the kids into the act by letting them help, and explaining the significance of the observance and the proper way to plant.

Proper planting begins with selecting the right tree for the spot you want to plant it. Be sure the growing conditions where you plan to plant correspond to the tree’s needs listed on the nursery tag. If in doubt, talk to one of the horticulturists at your garden center. Be sure there’s plenty of space for the tree to grow to its full height and width. Don’t plant a sun loving tree in the shade or a shade tolerant tree in the sun. If it likes acid soil, don’t plant it in basic soil.

There’s an old saying, “Dig a $50 hole for a $5 tree.” This means the hole should be two to three times bigger in diameter than the rootball but only as deep. Place the tree in the hole and, while one of the children holds the tree plumb to the ground, backfill. Tamp the soil gently to eliminate air pockets and then soak the backfilled area.

You’ll enjoy your new tree more if you follow these guidelines, and it will require less maintenance than an improperly planted tree. You won’t have to constantly have it pruned to fit the allotted space. As a strong, healthy tree, it shouldn’t need fertilization and will have fewer insect and disease problems.

Arbor Day should be a fun holiday with memories that last a lifetime for the whole family…regardless of which day you plant your Arbor Day tree.

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