Banks won’t close; government offices and schools won’t close. But Friday, April 26, is a holiday. Most school children will learn about Arbor Day. Many will even bring home a seedling in a paper cup to be planted in your yard.
Arbor day was first observed in 1885. In the 104 years between when Arbor Day was first observed and when it became a national holiday in 1989, each state declared its own Arbor Day. It was usually on a day that was best to start planting trees in their specific climate.
The first Arbor Day was observed in Nebraska when J. Sterling Morton used his influence as a newspaperman, Nebraska Territory official and Secretary of Agriculture to President Grover Cleveland to have a day set aside to plant trees on Nebraska’s nearly treeless prairie. Morton was born in the town of Adams in New York’s North Country where there are plenty of trees.
Arbor Day and J. Sterling Morton present you with a great teaching moment. There’s plenty of material online about Morton and Arbor Day. After learning about the founder of Arbor Day, make a family activity out of doing something about trees and the environment. If there are places on your property where a new tree would look nice, take the family to your local garden center, buy a new tree and plant it as a family. Don’t forget the mantra: Right Tree, Right Place. Do your homework so you’re sure to select a tree that will grow well in the place you’ve selected.
For those of you who have plenty of trees on your property, consider a tree maintenance project. For this you will probably need help from our arborists. We don’t want you or your family getting hurt. Start this adventure by taking a family walk around your property, stopping to examine each tree. Jot down any care needs that you or a family member identifies. Then schedule a professional inspection. Compare your list with the arborist’s.
Following both inspections, sit down with the arborist, discuss your needs and prioritize. You may have trees that need pruning. You may have an ash tree that hasn’t received an emerald ash borer preventive treatment. This would be an excellent Arbor Day present.
We haven’t forgotten that tree in a cup that your child brought home. Planting a little seedling directly into the soil out in the yard, though, can be dangerous to the tree. Due to its small size and immaturity, it can be hit by the mower, stepped on or suffer many other injuries. Unless you’re prepared to give it plenty of space and put a fence around it, consider planting it in a container and setting it out on your deck or patio for a few years until it’s large enough to survive in the yard. You may have to transplant it into larger containers a few times before it grows to sapling size and can be safely planted on its own.
These are just a few ways that you can make Arbor Day a fun holiday that results in some great family bonding. Your community may also have family friendly events planned. Check with your town hall or your community’s website.
It is also important to know what the seedling in the cup is before planting it. One would not want to plant a tree that is too big for its particular situation. Trees that get big will need plenty of space. The characteristics of the tree should also be considered. It is important to know if it is deciduous or evergreen for example.