Indiana celebrates A
rbor Day on April 29 this year, and the holiday is a chance to encourage responsible tree planting and recognize the Hoosier communities that excel at urban forestry.
This year’s Arbor Day coincides with the 40th anniversary of the National Tree City USA program. Tree City USA is a program through the Arbor Day Foundation that recognizes cities for excellence in planting and caring for urban trees.
Urban trees enhance air and water quality, making communities healthier, safer and more beautiful.
In Indiana, 65 communities have earned Tree City USA designation. These communities meet criteria that include having a tree preservation ordinance, having a tree board or department with staff, spending $2 per capita spent on tree care and maintenance, and holding an Arbor Day observation with a proclamation.
Communities that go above and beyond these criteria in a certain year can attain a Tree City Growth Award. Communities that receive 10 Growth Awards can earn the designation as a Sterling Tree City.
Indiana’s Sterling Tree Cities are Elkhart, Anderson, Carmel, Madison, Middlebury, Indianapolis, Noblesville, Syracuse, Fort Wayne and Terre Haute.
Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1872, when an estimated million trees were planted in Nebraska, the home state of then U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sterling Morton.
Indiana observes Arbor Day on the last Friday in April, which is the same day as National Arbor Day. States observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree planting times in their area.
To celebrate Arbor Day, the Indiana DNR will post interesting Tree City USA facts on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=indiana%20dnr.
The Indiana DNR Community & Urban Forestry program promotes the responsible planting of trees on Arbor Day, reminding those who wish to plant a tree to consider the tree’s lifespan and needs before planting.
Know how big your tree can get and plant it where it can grow to its full potential. When planting, be aware of overhead and underground utilities. Looking up and calling 811 before selecting a planting site can save a lot of trouble and time.
You must care for your tree as it gets established, which takes 2-5 years. Providing water and being careful while mowing are essential. Mower decks and string trimmers can mortally wound young trees.
You can watch videos on how to plant different types of trees on the DNR YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/idnrvideos.
For more information on Indiana Tree City USA, visit the Community & Urban Forestry page at dnr.IN.gov/forestry/2854.htm.