Friday, April 20, 2007

Announcing Arbor Day

Next Friday, April 27, is national Arbor Day. Here in American Fork, we plan to paint the town -- green.

Here's the plan:

First, Mayor Thompson will read and sign the Arbor Day Proclamation during the April 24 City Council meeting.

On the next evening, State Forester Scott Zeidler will visit with the members of the Beautification and Shade Tree Committee during their regular meeting. Topic: The How and Why of Becoming a Tree City, USA.

Then comes Arbor Day proper. At 10:00 a.m., the Beautification and Shade Tree Committee will conduct a special Arbor Day assembly at Forbes Elementary, taking the opportunity to encourage the school children in the appreciation and care of trees, and distributing no less than 635 blue spruce seedlings.

Special thanks to Daniel Copper of the Star Mill, who donated $500 of the $1,000 needed to fund the seedlings. Mr. Copper and the Beautification committee do this every year, rotating through American Fork's five elementary schools. It's an excellent cause.

At 11:30, the committee will proceed to Robinson Park (near the library), where they will be joined by members of the City Council and the news media. (My blogging husband calls it the DTM, or Dead Tree Media, but I can't bring myself to use that name in this post.) There they will transplant five maples in the corner by the historic cabins.

A pleasing variety of Rubrum and Norway maples, these trees will be fifteen years old, providing instant shade. One doesn't ordinarily transplant such mature trees, but these trees have been provided and will be transplanted by a very painstaking specialist, one Kent Gunderson, tree farmer and former American Fork resident.

Mr. Gunderson grows these trees on his farm in Oregon. When the trees are selected for transplanting, he carefully root prunes, then balls and burlaps the trees and transports them on a flatbed truck during the dark of night -- never during the heat of day. (During the heat of summer, he uses a refrigerator truck.) The trees are planted using a very large, 56-inch spade, then carefully staked for the first year to get them through any surprise storms.

In twelve years, Mr. Gunderson has lost fewer than five percent of his transplants. (Ten percent loss is the industry standard.)

Robinson Park does already have nice tree coverage, even if the cabins are out in the open. Visitors to the cabins will appreciate the shade. But the more pressing need, in this park, is for reforestation. Mature trees can't live forever, and when they die, it's important to have the next generation already in place.

I'm tickled pink -- er, green -- to report that one of the five trees will be funded by the Arbor Day grant I wrote a few weeks back.

So we're planting five trees in American Fork this year and passing out 635 seedlings. If you can, I hope you'll join us at Robinson Park.

If I don't see you there, then let me just tell you now:

Happy Arbor Day!

(Many special thanks to Juel Belmont, Arbor Day chair, and Paul Strong, Beautification committee chair.)


Blogger Annie said...

I appreciate the information! Thanks.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Ricardo Lano said...

What does becoming a "Tree City" for the citizen? Can we get a deal on purchasing trees to plant on our property? How about the city and/or beatification committee encourage the elimination of the Chinese Elm tree from our city?

4:28 PM  
Blogger Heidi Rodeback said...

Unfortunately, Tree City status offers no such direct benefits to residents. The primary benefits to the City are these:

1. The benefits that derive from meeting the requirements -- having an ordinance, a budget, and a Tree Board and City Forester to provide adequate care for City trees.

2. Preferential status when the City applies for grants to purchase trees for City properties.

3. Access to a variety of professionals for technical advice, literature, films, and other assistance.

4. Citizen pride and a positive public image.

For more information, visit the Tree City USA site at

As for the Chinese Elm -- that's one very big, very persistent weed. The tree ordinance offers little assistance against it. But maybe you'll enjoy reading about Ranger Bill Wolverton's crusade against junk trees in Utah's national parks. Check out this link:

More power to him!

2:19 PM  

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