It’s Tree Time!
Lake Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), the UF/IFAS Extension Lake County, and the City of Tavares sponsored an Arbor Day celebration on January 20th. It was a wonderful family event with plenty of opportunities to learn about trees and our environment from 12 local organizations. Approximately 700 residents attended, and each family was able to take home as many as 5 different trees to plant at their home.
Lake SWCD chose the Chickasaw Plum tree for their annual tree give-away and would love to see pictures of your newly planted tree. Send an email to email@example.com. Also share something about trees or the environment that you’ve learned since the Arbor Day celebration. Did you know that these trees are a favored nesting environment for Loggerhead Shrikes? Loggerhead Shrikes are songbirds that prey on insects, other birds, and small mammals. They impale their prey on thorns or barbed wire for easy consumption. Have you ever seen a grasshopper stuck on a barbed wire fence? It may have been placed there by a Loggerhead Shrike. Loggerhead Shrikes have been spotted all over Lake County so hopefully a family will move into your Chickasaw Plum Tree.
If you missed this event you will have another opportunity to get a Chickasaw Plum tree at the Master Gardener Plant sale at the Lake County Extension Center on April 14th, 2018.
The City of Tavares and the Tavares Middle School Critical Thinking class provided Tabebuia, or “Trumpet Tree” seedlings. These are great trees for any area of your landscape that needs a little added shade such as along driveways or over patios. The Tabebuia is a sub-tropical species, so be sure to cover it during hard freezes for the next couple of years.
The UF/IFAS Extension Lake County Master Gardeners presented well-attended classes on relevant topics. The standing room only classes covered how to identify local trees, how to prune flowering trees, and how to use appropriate pruning tools.
The Lake County Green Party booth had a hands-on project for their initiative “Bring Your Bags Central Florida”. In addition to handing out reusable grocery bags, they provided materials and instructions to anybody that wanted to make their own reusable bag from a t-shirt. Their clever pattern requires no sewing and recycles an unwanted item while reducing plastic waste. You can visit their Facebook page for more information.
Attendees who stopped by the 4-H booth had an opportunity to learn ways to protect trees by protecting local waterways. The 4-H club used a model to demonstrate how we all live in a shared watershed. Any time you wash your car, cut your lawn, or even walk your pets you may be contributing to water pollution when rainwater washes these things into our waterways. They demonstrated why you should always blow grass clippings back onto the yard, clean up any fertilizer spills, pick up after your pet. Remember the slogan “Only Rain Down the Drain” if you have storm drains in your neighborhood.
If you have school age children in your family and would like to learn more about any of these topics, Lake SWCD encourages your family to participate in the annual poster contest. This year’s theme is “Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home”. This is a fun and artistic way to learn how planting trees, recycling, and picking up waste protects our waterways and drinking water. You can explore educational materials at the National Association of Conservation Districts web site www.nacdnet.org or contact our office (352)253-1646 for information about the local contest.
University of Florida is an equal opportunity institution.