Apr 8th 2021
How Arbor Day Came To Be & How We Can Continue Honoring Trees
April is just kicking off and with Arbor Day coming up in the U.S. on April 30, we have been thinking a lot about trees - how trees add to our lives, how to promote planting trees, and how to keep the trees around us healthy.
The history of Arbor Day in the United States goes back to 1872 and the ways that we celebrate the holiday have varied a bit over the years. However, the need to recognize the value of trees continues to be important.
You may be trying to figure out some good ways to observe Arbor Day and we are hoping to help you out.
Our suggestions about planting a tree may seem obvious but hopefully, we will also be able to give you some ideas you may not have considered.
A Little Background On Arbor Day:
Arborist Day was first celebrated in Nebraska way back in 1872. Here in the U.S. the first Arbor Day was spearheaded by a gentleman named Julius Sterling Morton.
Mr. Morton was a journalist, publisher, and politician. He felt that it was important to talk about trees to improve the physical landscape of Nebraska and to help bolster the economy.
Morton may have been ahead of his time thinking about the economic benefits of trees; with modern-day studies, we are only now really starting to understand as a culture how planting trees can increase business in communities and make people want to stick around.
Early Arbor Day celebrations were often observed on Morton’s birthday on April 22. These early Arbor Days were celebrated on local levels. Theodore Roosevelt, who coincidentally appointed Morton’s son as the Secretary Of The Navy, was the first president to discuss Arbor Day on a national level. Still, it wasn’t until 1970 when Richard Nixon declared Arbor Day a national holiday.
Arbor Day Should Be For Everyone
Looking back on the history of the holiday, one thing that we may want to think about more in the present day is that people all over the political and cultural spectrum have had a part in creating the holiday. This underscores the notion that valuing trees should not be seen as a partisan issue. Both liberals and conservatives should be able to see the value of trees and ecology.
With all of that being said, let’s get to talking about celebrating Arbor Day in the present day. We’ve come up with a few different ideas about what that could look like.
Thinking About Our Relationship To Trees
The simplest way to celebrate Arbor Day may be just to think about what trees mean to us. With the crazy world we are living in, it can be easy to get distracted from things that are important.
Here Are Some Reasons That Trees Are Important:
- Improving Air Quality
- Increasing Property Value
- Providing Shelter For Wildlife
- Improving Mood & Mental Health
- Adding Beauty To An Environment
- Making Neighborhoods More Welcoming
- Improving Business & Making Customers Want To Shop Longer
Perhaps the craziest thing is that recent studies indicate that trees in urban environments can drastically decrease violent crimes in neighborhoods and improve the mental health of people living in neighborhoods.
Planting New Trees
The most common way to celebrate Arbor Day is to plant a tree. This is sort of a no-brainer, but it may be easier than you think. A lot of businesses and organizations offer free trees or seeds to plant around Arbor Day. Chances are a company or non-profit near you would be happy to donate a small tree to your property.
If you want to take things a step further, you may want to consult an arborist to get advice on what kind of tree to plant. That brings us to our next subject - how arborists can help you out.
Hiring An Arborist
As mentioned above, a professional arborist tree care specialist could give you advice on what kind of tree would be best for your specific property and neighborhood. They could also plant a tree for you. The expertise of a good arborist is priceless when it comes to planting.
You may already have trees on your property. If this is the case, you can also hire an arborist to maintain the trees you already have. A significant part of arboriculture is centered around tree health- tree planting and pruning, tree surgery, soil management, and pest control.
Services Arborists May Offer:
- Tree Surgery
- Soil Treatment
- Fungus Management
- Tree Planting & Pruning
- Removal Of Intrusive Plants
If you want more information about how to when your tree may need care,check out our guide on the subject here.
Why Tree Health Is Important
When you are hiring an arborist, you want to look for someone who comes from an ethical perspective. The good news is that someone who respects trees is more likely to respect their customers and your property.
Arboriculture philosophy says that trees should be treated rather than removed whenever possible. You also will want to hire an arborist who is conservative about pruning. A good arborist will look at pruning as part of tree health - removing diseased or broken limbs.
Benefits Of Conservative Pruning:
- Maximizing Photosynthesis
- Removal Of Diseased Limbs
- Removal Of Damaged Branches
When thinking about tree planting and pruning, you also want to work with an arborist who has a respect for tree diversity and plant diversity in general.
Talking To Your Family And Neighbors About Trees
It’s really important to teach kids about the importance of trees and even talk to adults about why trees are so valuable. Whether you are talking with your family members or your neighbors, simply talking about why we need trees can help foster an appreciation for the environment.
Aside from talking about the importance of planting trees, talking to kids about recycling and conserving paper products is also very valuable. Here is a quick list on ways you can involve your kids in the arborist conversation.
In talking to your neighbors, you may even be able to come up with plans together on how to improve your neighborhood by planting trees and gardens. This can increase the value of property in the neighborhood, foster a better sense of community, and just make your corner of the world more enjoyable to live in.
Why Trees Are More Important Now Than Ever
Our present reality means that most of us are spending more time at home and in our own neighborhoods. This can make the world feel very small and isolating. However, it is worth saying that all of us can better the situation by improving our own homes and neighborhoods.
It is increasingly becoming more and more clear that having more trees is great for mental health. As more studies come out, we are learning that people become less depressed and more hopeful when they are surrounded by trees, even in urban environments. With mental health being more important than ever, this year may be the perfect time to plant trees or maintain the trees that we already have.
Hopefully, with a little thought and action, we can make this Arbor Day especially meaningful. Now that we have discussed the importance of trees and some ideas about how you can promote trees and tree health, you have a solid starting point for how you can do your part. The future and how we show respect for our world is in our hands.