PLANT FOR THE PLANET: Celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day.
This week we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, and Arbor Day on April 27th. Some history…..
The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. About 20 million people joined the movement in America to protest industrial and other forms of pollution. By 1990 Earth Day had become a worldwide movement to clean up and protect our environment.
The first Arbor Day was celebrated on April 10, 1872.
In the 1850’s J. Sterling Morton from Detroit moved to the treeless Nebraska Territory. He was a journalist, newspaper editor, and later Secretary of the Nebraska Territory.
In the spring of 1872 he proposed a local tree planting holiday and over 1 million trees were planted with parades and local celebrations held.
On April 22, 1885 (Morton’s birthday), Arbor Day was declared a legal holiday in Nebraska. Today most states join in on Arbor Day celebrations with the date dependent on optimal planting time for that area.
(Source: Arbor Day Foundation)
10 Reasons to Plant a Tree:
1. Trees combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide.
2. In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
3. Trees clean the air by absorbing odors and pollutant gases.
4. Trees provide shade to cool homes and streets. Trees can cut summer air conditioning needs by 50%.
5. Trees reduce heating bills by slowing harsh winter winds.
6. Shade trees reduce the amount of water needed for lawns and other plants.
7. Trees help prevent soil erosion and pollution of water in streams and lakes by reducing run-off.
8. Trees provide food for humans and wildlife.
9. Trees provide shelter for birds and other wildlife.
10. Studies have shown that trees in yards and parks provide a sense of well-being and help reduce stress.
What will you do this year to protect the planet?
Focus on Plants: Planting Windbreaks and Screens
A windbreak or screen might be one tree strategically placed on your property or it may be a row or 2 or 3 of trees or shrubs planted on a property line to slow down winter winds and offer shade.
Spring is always a good time to plant. Trees planted in the spring usually require less watering as spring rains reduce hand watering. In addition, they have the whole season to develop a root system which will be beneficial for over-wintering. Typically oaks and birch trees do better if planted in the spring than in the fall.
Because of the risk of disease it is best to plant a variety of trees, and natives are always a good choice.
Some common trees and shrubs currently being recommended for large windbreaks are Norway Spruce, Eastern Red Cedars, Oaks, and Dogwood and Lilac shrubs. If only planting a few trees, a variety of your choice is fine.