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Warm up to Florida Arbor Day

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Unlike most other states, Florida celebrates Arbor Day on the third Friday in January.

You’re not wrong to ask why.

Maybe it’s because of our warm sunny climate – although if we get any cold weather (under 35°F), it happens right about now.

Interesting timing, especially when you’re gonna shell out for a nice tree to celebrate.

Happy Florida Arbor Day!

Where Arbor Day came from

It should be obvious to everyone by now why trees are good.

They shade the house in the summer so that the air conditioner doesn’t run all the damn time.

They provide wind breaks for other plants in the yard so they don’t get all beaten down.

They clean the air, the ground and the water by filtering out and breaking down pollutants so we can live greener and more healthy.

One would have thought that people have always known that trees are good things, but at some point in the past that must not have been so evident.

That’s why we have Arbor Day.

Plant more trees

If you’ve ever been to Nebraska and the Great Plains, then you know that they didn't and don’t have enough trees.

So it’s fitting that the very first Arbor Day happened on April 10, 1872, in Nebraska City, Neb., because of Julius Sterling Morton, Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture and prominent Bourbon Democrat (political, economic and social conservative).

Arbor Day inaugurators planted an estimated one million trees planted that day.

What trees mean

Before you make your big Arbor Day purchase, do some studying.

There are as many explanations of trees as symbols as there are cultures and religions, so build a mythology that works for you.

Here in GreaterJax™, you can’t go very far wrong with these trees:

  • Bay Laurel – earth’s calling and glory
  • Citrus – energy, fairness and justice
  • Crepe Myrtle – unity
  • Cypress - heaven’s calling
  • Dogwood – charm and finesse
  • Fig – fertility and good fortune
  • Ginkgo Biloba – longevity, love
  • Holly – action, assertion, objectivity
  • Live Oak – liberty, strength, stability, nobility
  • Magnolia – dignity
  • Palm – trust
  • Pecan – money, employment
  • Pine – vitality
  • Sycamore – growth, persistence, strength and endurance
  • Willow – imagination, intuition, vision

Do you live in Tree City USA?

Not that many people realize it but forestry management happens even in cities and towns.

Trees growing on public property are considered urban forests, and local governments can become part of Tree City USA, a nationwide network sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, that provides information on maintaining trees as both monuments and renewable resources.

To participate, your town must maintain a tree board, have a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per resident on urban forestry and celebrate Arbor Day.

  • Fact: Over 135 million people in the United States live in a Tree City USA.
  • Fact: More than 3400 communities participate in Tree City USA, including the following in Greater Jacksonville: Crescent City, Fernandina Beach, Gainesville, Green Cove Springs, High Springs, Interlachen, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Keystone Heights, Neptune Beach, Newberry, Ocala, Orange Park, Palatka, Pomona Park, St. Augustine, Beach, St. Augustine Beach, Starke

Need to know more about trees?

There are all kinds of places to go for help, like Greenscape of Jacksonville, area garden clubs and your county Ag Extension.

Or ask your local Druid.

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©2014 All rights reserved.

OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: kt.4examiner@yahoo.com

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