Celebrating Arbor Day

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says Arbor Day, celebrated on the last Friday in April, is a chance to encourage responsible tree planting and recognize the many Hoosier communities that have committed to urban forest management.

The Indiana DNR Community & Urban Forestry program promotes the responsible planting of trees on Arbor Day, and reminds those who wish to plant a tree to practice social distancing and consider the tree’s characteristics 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.

Care for your tree as it gets established, which takes two to five years. Providing water weekly and being careful while mowing is essential. Mower decks and string trimmers can mortally wound young trees.

A series of posts on the Division of Forestry Facebook page (facebook.com/INdnrforestry) will help you celebrate Arbor Day.

You can also watch videos on how to select trees at mdc.itap.purdue.edu/item.asp?Item_Number=FNR-541-WV and properly plant mdc.itap.purdue.edu/item.asp?Item_Number=FNR-540-WV a tree from Purdue Urban Forestry Extension Specialist, Lindsey Purcell.

For more information on finding a professional to help care for your existing trees visit isa-arbor.com/ to find an ISA Certified Arborist near you.

Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1872, when an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska, the home state of then-U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sterling Morton. For more on Arbor Day history, see dnr.IN.gov/forestry/5314.htm .

National Tree City USA, Tree Campus USA and Tree Line USA are programs run through the Arbor Day Foundation that recognize cities, college campuses and utility companies for excelling in planting and caring for urban trees. More about these programs is at arborday.org .

Trees enhance the urban landscape and help to improve air and water quality, making communities healthier, safer and more beautiful places.

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 on tree care and maintenance, and holding an Arbor Day observation with a proclamation.

For more information on Indiana Tree City USA, visit the Community & Urban Forestry page at dnr.IN.gov/forestry/2854.htm . 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 Community, as listed at arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/sterling.cfm .

If your community or campus is interested in becoming a Tree City USA or Tree Campus USA please contact the Community and Urban Forestry Program.