A quick post in honor of Arbor Day which in Vermont is the first Friday of May, this year falling on the 4th. We are fortunate to have a very active Urban & Community Forestry Program here in VT, and they coordinate lots of great activities for both schools and communities, and do a bang-up job celebrating Arbor Day on a Statewide level.
Our kids participated in the Growing Works of Art Contest this year which celebrates floodplain trees. Tropical storm Irene disturbed many floodplains in the state, therefore this contest will highlight the trees that thrive in this habitat and celebrate their important ecological functions such as flood control and erosion prevention.
When considering which tree to add to your landscape, consider the ecosystem role that it plays (food, cover, shading and cooling to name a few), but also its ornamental characteristics. In addition to the questions of whether the tree provides fruits or flowers, leaf color in the fall, or interesting bark, consider its architectural structure. Does it have weeping branches, or a rounded canopy, or an upright or vase shaped outline. One of my favorite trees has multiple benefits – Quercus bicolor (Swamp White Oak) – it is native to the Champlain Valley, it supports hundreds of species, and has lovely sculpted branches that show up particularly well during our long winters here in VT.
When you plant a tree, you become a steward not just in the present but for posterity. So whether you’re in Vermont on May 4th, or at home elsewhere, check out the National Arbor Day activities that are happening in your community, and consider planting a new tree in your yard. A dedication to a tree is a wonderful way of paying it forward both for future generations and the ecosystem as a whole.