Celebrating Arbor Day

The mention of Arbor Day conjures up memories of tree plantings in the schoolyard and planting evergreen saplings in the backyard. More then just a planting exercise for grade school children, this environmental holiday is the reason for the planting of thousands of new trees each year. Countries all across the globe celebrate Arbor Day by planting new trees. Adding to the local landscape, trees provide beauty, shelter, fruit and lumber. Trees are an important part of any environment. Celebrate Arbor Day this year by planting a tree in your yard!

Pioneer J. Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day after moving to the Nebraska Territory in 1854. A nature enthusiast and journalist, Morton – encouraged people to plant trees in the new territory. Morton organized the first Arbor Day celebration on April 10, 1872. In 1885, it became an official holiday in the state of Nebraska and was celebrated on Morton’s birthday, April 22. Since the 1850s numerous states have adopted the holiday, and it has spread to other countries as well.

Today Arbor Day is celebrated across the country. While traditionally celebrated the last Friday in April, each state has it’s own day for celebrating. Check out the official National Arbor Day Foundation web site to find the Arbor Day in your state.

Here are a few ways you can celebrate Arbor Day:

Plant a tree in your yard. Trees add beauty and value for years to come, so do a little research to pick the right tree for your environment. You can also plant trees in containers on your porch, deck or indoors. Check with your local garden center for recommendations on trees that will grow successfully in your area.

  • Organize or attend a tree planting or dedication in your community. Check with your local city or township community relations group to find out what is going on in your area. Many school districts also plant trees to celebrate Arbor Day. Donate trees or volunteer to help out at the event. No activities planned for your community? Create your own. Check with your local civic organization to see what you can do to help organize an Arbor Day tree planting.
  • Spend time with your kids talking about how trees work and why they are important to nature. The National Arbor Day Foundation (arborday.org) has great tree trivia games for kids!
  • Enjoy the trees in your community. Spend the day having a picnic outdoors, hike through a park or visit an arboretum in your area.
  • Take care of the trees you have. Make sure they are receiving enough water and nutrients. If you have container planted trees check to see they are in an ideal location for receiving sunlight.

Roots of trees and shrubs extend far beyond the width of the plant. Be sure to water and feed an area 2 to 3 times the width of the plant.