Photo: These young Missourians are planting native trees for Arbor Day.
Recognized during the last Friday in April, Arbor Day is of special interest in Missouri where residents have observed the day since 1886 when the General Assembly adopted the holiday for the appreciation and planting of trees.
Many states have earlier or later Arbor Day observations based on local climate and weather patterns.
As a practical event, the Arbor Day began in 1872 on the barren plains of Nebraska. The idea of planting trees was first strongly promoted by newspaper editor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture J. Sterling Morton.
After several years’ effort, Morton successfully encouraged a number of individuals and states to each create an annual tree planting program. His Arbor Day idea was adopted by a number of states surrounding Nebraska before it was recognized as a national observance.
Trees and forests have long been recognized for their value to communities, economy and the environment.
Covering nearly a third of the state, Missouri’s forests provide outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat and watersheds for stream and rivers. For succeeding generations to benefit, planting native trees and practicing proper tree care is encouraged.
Luckily, finding trees to plant is easy in Missouri. Located near Licking, the George O. White State Forest Nursery offers residents a variety of native tree and shrub seedlings for reforestation, windbreaks, erosion control, wildlife food and cover. For more information, Missouri residents can click here.
For help on selecting proper trees for specific locations and planting tips, click here. Information on tree care can be found here.
If you don’t live in Missouri, assistance in proper tree selection is also available through the Arbor Day Foundation. Find information on each state tree, and reports on urban and rural forestry as well communities designated as a Tree City for forestry efforts.
– Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.