In recognition of Arbor Day 2018, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is once again partnering with the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board to sponsor the annual Arbor Day Tree Planting Program, which provides free trees for participating schools.

“The Arbor Day tree planting program is a Union County tradition that provides students with important hands-on lessons about the value of trees in our environment,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Studies have shown that trees improve property values and provide many other civic benefits while absorbing airborne pollutants, providing a cooling effect in summer, preventing soil erosion, and helping to alleviate flooding. Just one tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people.”

This year’s free tree is a tree native to the northeast, the American Flowering Dogwood.  They are about five feet tall and weigh about 20 pounds, and each is provided with a protective cage. When fully grown they will be about 15-20 feet tall.

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The trees are available on a first come first serve basis while supplies last. Requests from schools must be received by Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

Schools that are interested in a tree can request one by contacting Barbara Knapp at 908-789-3653 or bknapp@ucnj.org to obtain a registration form. 

For schools that receive a tree, free sessions in tree planting and care are available to students, teachers, and parent volunteers through the Union County and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Master Tree Steward Program. The tree care sessions will be held at Williams Nursery in Westfield.  Please register for training by contacting Barbara Knapp.  

“Trees are a key asset in Union County, and the Freeholder Board takes stewardship of this resource very seriously,” said Granados. “The County tends to thousands of trees along our roadways and in our parks, we provide matching grants for planting trees in our 21 municipalities, and we support the Master Tree Steward volunteers who do a wonderful job of educating children about the value of trees.”

The U.S. Forestry Service provides free public domain software to calculate the dollar value of trees in an urban community. The latest version, i-Tree v.4, is user-friendly for individuals, students and community groups as well as professional planners.

Arbor Day has been a National Observance since 1872, encouraging the public to plant and care for trees.  This year it will be celebrated on Friday, April 27, 2018.

To find out more about tree care in Union County or to volunteer to be a Master Tree Steward, contact James Nichnadowicz, Union County 4-H Agent at Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County 908-654-9854 or jnichnadowicz@ucnj.org.

The Extension is supported in part by the Freeholder Board and is headquartered in the Colleen Fraser Building at the County complex in Westfield, at 300 North Avenue East. For information on all Extension programs visit ucnj.org/rce.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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