Florida Arbor Day Tree Seedling Giveaway
In celebration of Florida Arbor Day, the UF/IFAS Extension Florida Master Gardeners Martin County Program will be offering a tree seedling giveaway on Saturday, January 20, 2018, from 9:00 to 11:45 a.m. at the UF/IFAS Extension Martin County Office, located at 2614 SE Dixie Highway in Stuart. Seedlings are being offered thanks to a donation from Val Martin of Florida Classics Library. UF/IFAS Extension will offer information about the trees and how to best care for them after planting. No advance reservations please. Tree seedlings will be available on a first-come, first-served basis the day of the event.
Why Plant Trees?
It has been more than 130 years since J. Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day, and his simple idea of setting aside a special day for tree planting is now more important than ever. Properly sited trees can reduce energy costs through shading, provide wildlife habitat, reduce erosion and stormwater runoff, sequester greenhouse gas emissions, and increase property values. As January is the optimal time to plant trees across the state, Florida Arbor Day is celebrated on the third Friday in January.
A Florida native pine tree, sand pine (Pinus clausa) grows well in our often sandy, nutrient-poor soils and offer habitat for wildlife http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/nassauco/2015/09/16/what-can-you-tell-me-about-the-florida-sand-pine/. Sand pines are small- to medium-sized trees and they have conical crowns, which makes them a Floridian Christmas tree option, with proper shearing. As they mature, the trunk and branches often grow in a curving manner, lending a picturesque, bonsai-like appearance. The sand pines to be offered at this year’s Arbor Day event are the Choctawhatchee variety (Pinus clausa var. immuginata), sourced from the Florida Forest Service. Choctawatchee sand pine survives transplanting well and therefore is often planted for habitat restoration. Sand pine scrub habitats are in decline in Florida, due to development, but local examples can be found at Doc Meyers Park, Halpatiokee Park, Maggie’s Hammock, Twin Rivers Park, Haney Creek Park, Kiplinger, Peck Lake Park, Gomez, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Savannas State Park, Hobe Sound Nature Center, and other public parks. Visit https://www.martin.fl.us/parksandrec and https://discovermartin.com/see-do/ecotourism/ to learn more.