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Oklahoma Set to Observe Arbor Week March 24-30

Sunday, March 24, 2024

While most of the country will observe Arbor Day on April 26, Oklahomans will get a jump start on the celebration by observing Arbor Week March 24-30.


In the late 1800s, J. Sterling Morton led the charge of planting approximately 1 million trees in Nebraska. Arbor Day was first celebrated on April 10, 1872, in Nebraska City, Nebraska and Arbor Day became an official state holiday there in 1885. Other states followed suit and by the 1920s, many states passed public laws that stipulated the last Friday in April to be Arbor Day, but it wasn’t until 1970 that Arbor Day became a recognized holiday nationwide. This will be observed on April 30.


Trees are important for many reasons. Not only do they provide shade for a summer picnic or a place to hang a swing, but they also clean our air and water and pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Trees shading a home can help reduce the electric bill during the hot, summer months. They can also serve as a windbreak on a blustery wintery day, thus reducing heating costs. A landscape with mature trees can add to a home’s value.


In addition, trees are also pivotal in supporting wildlife and the ecosystem. They provide a habitat for many of nature’s wild creatures, as well as food. Trees attract thousands of pollinators and beneficial insects, which are helpful to gardeners. Humans also benefit because trees provide materials for living.


Arbor Week is a way to remind residents that trees should be planted every year as a method to improve their communities. Communities that have a healthy urban forest add economic value and community pride.


According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “While most holidays celebrate something that has already happened and is worth remembering, Arbor Day represents a hope for the future. The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that a tree will grow to provide us with clean air and water, cooling shade, habitat for wildlife, healthier communities and endless natural beauty – all for a better tomorrow.”


The United States-based Arbor Day Foundation has helped grow 500 million trees in the past 50 years. At last count, there were more than 3.1 trillion trees in the world, with 228 billion located in the U.S.


Check out Oklahoma State University Extension’s Tree Planting Guide as well as the Planting Trees and Shrubs  fact sheet. Also, check with your local OSU Extension office for additional information.

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