Partners host Feb. 21 tree giveaway, early Arbor Day observance

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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The Lowndes County Extension Office is partnering with the Alabama Forestry Commission and Alabama Power to give away sapling trees on Feb. 21 at the town square in Hayneville in front of the courthouse from 9-11 a.m.

The event, an early observance of Arbor Day, was strategically planned early during a time better suited for tree planting than the April 28 date because trees are not actively growing in winter and suffer less transplant shock when planted in February.

“We wanted to get the trees to stakeholders as soon as possible, and the Alabama Forestry Association has done an excellent job locating such great varieties,” said Lowndes County Extension Coordinator Tana Shealey. “We will also have a representative from Alabama Power Company discussing trees and power line safety. Residents can expect giveaways from Extension, and access to material about keeping trees healthy.”

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Urban Regional Extension Agent Roosevelt Robinson, Ed.D., teaches in Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources said tree planting is best during winter months.

“Woody plants, especially trees and shrubs, respond well to winter planting,” Robinson said.

Dormant plants require significantly less water than when they are in active growth in the spring, summer, and fall, Shealey explained. Winter months tend to have more rainfall and bug and plant diseases are less active in winter.

Winter planting gives new plants time to acclimate to new growing conditions before the summer heat arrives, Shealey noted.

Shealey said the giveaway is part of Extensions education program focusing on the importance of forestry and keeping Alabama’s treasured forests healthy and safe. Guests will learn about how trees benefit the environment and will receive a pamphlet identifying the trees they receive.

“Our agents will be there to talk to the youth about how trees grow and thrive and about why the forests are important to Alabama,” Shealey said. “So, it’s just an educational outreach that has a little extra in celebration of Arbor Day. They’ll get their own tree to plant and monitor.”

“My goal is that the kids will plant the trees at school, and they’ll be responsible for taking care of a tree, going out and pulling the leaves from around it. You will find that young people enjoy learning about science when they’re doing science. And I really enjoy watching them and working with them to do those things, to plant, to grow, and to continue learning.”

The event is focused toward youth and senior citizens, but everyone who attends can receive a sapling.

“We will give out saplings until we run out,” Shealey said. “Some of our older stakeholders don’t drive as much. They’re not doing as much traveling to Montgomery or Selma for purchases. If they want to put trees in the yard with a grandchild, that would be great. And we middle-aged fold, we like trees too, so everyone can come to get a tree.”

All Lowndes County residents are welcome to attend. For more information, contact the Lowndes County Extension Office at (334) 548-2315.