Happy Arbor Week: Time to Celebrate Trees


It’s been more than 135 years since J. Sterling Morton originated Arbor Day. The Nebraskan was Secretary of Agriculture during the Grover Cleveland administration, and he had a fascination with trees. His simple idea was to set aside a special day for planting trees – and Arbor Day was born.

In Oregon, one of the most forested landscapes in the world, we commemorate a full Arbor Week, which this year runs April 7-14. It's a great opportunity for everyone to foster the well-being of the trees surrounding them. And what could be more natural during Arbor Week than to learn more about trees? You can visit OFRI’s website, where there is an interactive section on identifying trees around your yard and in your neighborhood. During Arbor Week, consider volunteering with a local tree-planting organization such as Friends of Trees. You'll meet new people and make a difference in your community.

Oregon’s Arbor Week is also a great time to honor trees and appreciate their many benefits – benefits that include clean air, water and wildlife habitat, plus higher property values. It’s always a great time to plant a tree. On April 20, OFRI will be giving away 1,000 tree seedlings at The Oregon Garden Earth Day celebration. Come plant a tree with us!

Tree planting using “right tree, right place” principles

When choosing where to plant your new tree, the first consideration is what the tree needs, and if the area can provide it. Here are five “tree needs” to keep in mind:

  1. Each tree species has different moisture needs and can tolerate wet or dry conditions to different degrees; know your tree’s watering requirements so you don’t expose them to too much or too little water. 
  2. Know the specifics of your tree’s height and crown size at maturity, so you can properly situate it in the landscape. 
  3. Once you’ve purchased your tree and are ready to plant, dig a hole wider than seems necessary, so the roots can spread without crowding. Remove any grass within a 3-foot circular area to minimize competition for resources. 
  4. Plant the tree at the same depth it stood in the pot or ground, and partially fill the hole, firming the soil around the lower roots. Do not add soil amendments. 
  5. Give your new tree plenty of water. Water it generously every week or 10 days during its first year.

Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872. On that day, more than 1 million trees were planted. Today, all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day, although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate. At the federal level, in 1970 President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day. In Oregon, during this year’s Arbor Week, take some time to plan an outing with friends or to participate in a fun family activity to celebrate trees.

Happy Arbor Week!

Julie Woodward, Tree Planter
OFRI Forest Education Program Manager


9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210        
Portland, OR 97225        
Phone: 971-673-2944        
Fax: 971-673-2946

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