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Arbor Day

National Arbor Day, founded by Julius Sterling Morton, is a nationwide observance encouraging tree planting in the U.S.. The federally designated date occurs the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on dates better suited to their best tree-planting times.

In California, Arbor Day is celebrated March 7-14; in Oregon it is the first full week of April, and in Washington it is the second Wednesday in April.

Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District Of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana,  Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, MichiganMinnesotaMissouri, MontanaNebraska, Nevada, New HampshireNew JerseyNew York, Ohio, PennsylvaniaRhode Island, South DakotaTexas, UtahVirginia and Wisconsin observe the National Arbor Day on April 25.

Other states and their Arbor Day observation dates:

Alaska
Third Monday in May

Alabama
Last full week of February

Arkansas
Third Monday in March

Arizona
Third Friday in March

California
March 7-14

Florida
Third Friday in January

Georgia
Third Friday in February

Hawaii
First Friday in November
Kentucky
First Friday in April

Louisiana
Third Friday in January

Maryland
First Wednesday in April

Maine
Third Full Week in May

Mississippi
Second Friday in February

North Carolina
First Friday following March 15

North Dakota
First Friday in May

New Mexico
Second Friday in March

Oklahoma
Last Full Week of March

South Carolina
First Friday in December

Tennessee
First Friday in March

Vermont
First Friday in May

West Virginia
Second Friday in April

Wyoming
Last Monday in April

Thoreau Famous and Historic Trees

How beautiful, when a whole tree is like one great scarlet fruit full of ripe juices, every leaf, from the lowest limb to the topmost spire, all aglow, especially if you look toward the sun! What more remarkable object can there be in the landscape? Visible for miles, too fair too be believed. If such a phenomenon occurred but once, it would be handed down by tradition to posterity, and get into the mythology at last.

Henry David Thoreau was living in a cabin beside the Walden Pond in Massachusetts when he wrote about the fiery color of the native red maples growing along its shores. Now I can have a cutting of that history and transplant it far across the continent, well beyond the bounds of Walden, and in a place Thoreau could scarcely have imagined. In the tree's growth and maturity I will enjoy a connection with that past.

I may also plant a shortleaf pine from seed of the one that stands on Kill Devil Hill in North Carolina overlooking the meadow where Orville and Wilbur Wright flew their lighter than air machine. I will select high ground where the westerlies are strong and steady, inviting upward mobility, and through the pine's blue-green needles I expect to hear the rustling of the winds of change. Is there any better watch for our age than one whose forbear witnessed first flight?

And I will also plant a sycamore descended from the three on Baltimore Street that stood in the line of battle when Gettysburg was fought. Its hardwood will take firm root between my property and my neighbor's, a constant reminder of the horrors of conflict and the importance of common ground.

These descendants of memorable and remembering trees, and others like them, can be purchased through the Famous and Historic Tree program of American Forests. There are white oaks from the Kentucky birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and a black walnut from the Civil War battleground at Antietam. From Edgar Allen Poe's home in Philadelphia cuttings have been taken from a hackberry, and from George Washington's home at Mount Vernon seeds are gathered from a maple that was spared his ax.

(For information on the American Forests Historic Tree Program, phone 800-320-8733 or visit www.historictrees.org)




In planting witnesses to the past we stake our claim on the future. What grows with a memory of yesteryear will recognize fresh starts. By sowing history in a place we introduce not only new leaves and sprouts, but also new meanings.

Trees define a place, more so than is commonly recognized. What are the Rockies without evergreen forests and stands of aspen? What is New England sans its foliage? Deprived of its trees, there is no rain forest. Even the lack of trees sets a place apart: tundra, desert, steppe, barrens.

In the trunks of trees swells the history of a place, not only in the rings of time but in the seeds of regeneration branching out across the centuries. No tree stands alone, nor any man, but in its genetics carries a memory of days now reduced to dust. Its roots suck on the bones of all our ancestors.

I will plant a red maple sapling cut from the forests of Walden Woods beside a pond along the edges of the Great Basin and watch for the surveyor, Henry David Thoreau, to appear. He will be staking markers every forty rods across the continent and wondering how this dry knowledge of metes and bounds will affect his imagination and fancy.

"What a history this Concord wilderness, which I affect so much, may have had!" he exclaims.

Michael Hofferber © 2008 All Rights Reserved.

Julius Sterling Morton, founder of Arbor Day Julius Sterling Morton

The founder of Arbor Day devoted his life to agriculture at a time when the American economy depended upon it for subsistence. Morton was born in New York, but his family soon emigrated west. He was educated at the University of Michigan, then moved to the wide open spaces of Nebraska. Soon, Morton and his bride staked a claim in Nebraska City where he edited a pioneer newspaper, worked his land and dabbled in territorial politics. He served two terms in the territorial legislature and was appointed secretary of the territory from 1858 to 1861.

Morton was a striking figure, exhibiting an aggressive personality, a sturdy build, keen blue-gray eyes and prominent features. When he took it upon himself to instruct the people of the state in the modern techniques of farming and forestry, they were more than willing to listen. Because of his skill in this area, Morton was appointed Secretary of Agriculture by President Cleveland in 1893. He distinguished himself in that capacity by bringing his department to farmers as a coordinated service, and supporting Cleveland in setting up national forest reservations. But, Morton's greatest achievement resulted from his hobby of planting trees. He suggested that one day a year, to be known as Arbor Day, be set aside for tree-planting.

Morton established the first American Arbor Day in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on April 10, 1872. An estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska that year.



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Sitka Spruce
Sitka Spruce

Alaska state tree
American Elm
American Elm

North Dakota state tree
White Oak
Sugar Maple

Vermont state tree
White Oak
White Oak

Maryland state tree
Tulip Poplar
Tulip  Poplar

Kentucky state tree
Eastern Redbud
Eastern Redbud

Oklahoma state tree
Pinyon Pine
Pinyon  Pine

New Mexico state tree
Longleaf Pine
Longleaf Pine

North Carolina state tree
Palo Verde
Palo Verde

Arizona state tree
Loblolly Pine
Loblolly Pine

Arkansas state tree
Arbor Day Tree Growing Kit
Arbor Day Tree Growing Kit

What Tree Is That?
Blue Ridge Nature Journal
Trees
Trees

Tree Pruner
Tree Pruner

How to Build a Treehouse
How to Build a Treehouse

Cascade Wreath
Wreaths

Evergreen Ornament
Christmas Ornaments


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