Arbor Day in Georgia is always celebrated on the third Friday in February.
The event, hosted by Keep Douglasville Beautiful, also featured speakers and demonstrations from Douglas County Extension Service staff Kevin Livingston and Susan Culpepper.
Certified Arborist James Hembree presented a tree planting demonstration. Douglasville’s Poet Laureate Alice Shapiro wrote the poem “An Ode to Trees” for the event, which was read by Chan Weeks, Keep Douglasville Beautiful executive director.
Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons gave a brief history of Arbor Day, which was started in Nebraska in 1872 by Julius Sterling Morton.
“Millions of trees have been planted because of his efforts,” said Persons. “One person can make a difference and can make history as we know it.”
The mayor explained the city has a tree ordinance and is working towards becoming a Tree City of the USA.
“Holding this event will help us get this designation,” he said.
County extension agent Kevin Livingston told the group that trees are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also evoke memories.
He said that trees are also an important source of badly needed oxygen.
“One acre of trees will supply oxygen for 18 people,” said the agriculture agent. “Trees also help with water quality and help slow down erosion.”
Pecan trees were planted along Jesse Davis Park, where they will not only provide shade, but delicious Georgia pecans.
“We want hardwood forests which provide diversity,” said Livingston. “Hardwood trees give a healthy balance in the ecosystem.”
County extension service coordinator Susan Culpepper spoke on the nutritional value of nuts — with special preference to the pecan.
“Whether you say “pee-can” or “puh-con,” it is a wonderful nut with nutritional value,” she said.
Georgia is tops in pecan production, producing 100 million pounds and bringing in $265 million to the Georgia economy.
Arborist James Hembree demonstrated the proper techniques for selecting quality stock and the importance of planting trees at the proper depth.
“Dig the hole bigger than the pot,” he said, “but not planted too deep. Make sure and compact soil under the plant, but loosen soil around the tree.”