Arbor Day is a holiday in which people are encouraged to plant a tree (Arbor in latin means tree). It was originated in Nebraska on April 10, 1872 by J. Sterling Morton, who was Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland. In Tennessee, the 1st Friday in March is our state Arbor Day. Here’s why we celebrate trees.
Trees clean the air we breathe. Through their leaves Trees take in carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. They remove & store carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of C02 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles! Trees also absorb odors & pollutant gases like Nitrogen Oxide, Ammonia, Sulfur Dioxide & Ozone.
Natural Air Conditioning
Trees reduce temperatures, especially in urban areas by at least 10F. They shade homes and city streets, and release water vapor into the air through their leaves. Three trees planted strategically around your home can cut air conditioning needs by up to 50%. By reducing our energy demands, we reduce our carbon footprint.
Trees save water by slowing evaporation from the soil. They help reduce runoff by breaking rainfall and allowing it to soak into the soil. This prevents storm water from carrying pollutants into our streams, lakes & oceans. Trees also prevent soil erosion.
Trees heal people as well. Exposure to trees & nature aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue. Patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster. People with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Trees reduce violence among people in highly urban areas, because they help reduce the level of fear & again, mental fatigue.
Trees provide habitat for wildlife like birds, bees and squirrels. Children also gather around trees during playtime & explore our natural world. Adults retreat under the shade of trees. Trees provide a gathering place at home as well as in city parks. Trees bring people together!
As nurserymen, we categorize trees by size. Large scale trees of 50’+ are called Shade trees and include Maples, Poplar, Sycamore & Oaks. These are to be placed far from the house and positioned to cast shade over it during the afternoon. Ornamental trees are those that usuallyl reach 25′ tall and offer showy flowers, interesting foliage color or unique overall structure. Because of their smaller size, they can often be tucked into patio beds or island beds closer to the house and underplanted with shrubs. Think Dogwoods w/ Azaleas beneath for instance.
Planting a tree creates civic pride as your realize you are being a good steward to the Earth. Join the celebration on Tenn. Arbor Day, March 2, 2018 & plant a tree!