The annual tree giveaway, hosted by the Alabama Forestry Commission and the Pike County Chapter of the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association, will be held this Friday, February 15th on the town square from 8:30am-11:30am. Trees up for grabs include the ever popular Japanese Maple, Red Maple, Eastern Redbud, Crape Myrtle, Oak Leaf Hydrangea and four oak varieties. The four varieties of oak are Sawtooth Oak, Cherry Bark Oak, Nuttale Oak and Shumard Oak. Other tree species include Chickasaw Plum, Green Ash, Black Gum, Bald Cypress, Pondo Cypress and the Persimmon. Let’s hope it’s the sweet variety.
The purpose of this giveaway, which brings Troy residents out in droves, is to encourage reforestation. Trees are vital to cleaning and oxygenating the air we breathe. They also provide food and shelter for wild animals. With proper planning, trees can even be used as a tool to reduce energy costs in your home. (More on that later!)
The trees provided in this giveaway are bare root and 6-9” tall. They require care in order to ensure their survival. The first thing you should do when you receive your trees is to pot them individually in quality potting mix or potting mix amended with compost. Then, water your new trees at a rate of 1” per week. This will provide the nourishment they need to build healthy root systems. For the best results, your trees should be left in their pots for one year before transplanting. Be sure to keep them in an area that provides the right amount of sunlight for the specimen. All of the trees listed above can be overwintered outside.
Be sure to take advantage of this great opportunity. As my favorite PBS personality Dr. Scott says, “Get outside and get into nature!”