Trees are the glue that binds communities together. The trees that line our streets, parks, playgrounds, and backyards not only create a more beautiful and peaceful environment, but they vastly increase our quality of life.

Among their many benefits to our ecosystem, trees:

  • Release oxygen and capture carbon dioxide.
  • Filter air by removing dust and absorbing other pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.
  • Absorb and filter the sun’s radiant energy, keeping things cool in summer.
  • Reduce the heat island effect caused by pavement and commercial buildings.
  • Shield us from the downfall of rain, sleet, and hail.
  • Screen people and homes from harsh winds.
  • Prevent flooding and fight erosion with their far-reaching roots.
  • Absorb and store rainwater, which reduces runoff and sediment deposit after storms and recharges the groundwater supply.
  • Prevent the transport of chemicals into streams.
  • Make excellent compost from fallen leaves that enrich the soil.
  • Bring natural elements and wildlife habitats into urban settings.
  • Provide food for animals who eat the leaves, flowers, and fruit and disperse the seeds over great distances.
  • Create shelter for living creatures, keeping them out of the reach of predators.
  • Produce fruits, nuts, and other consumables.
  • Provide a source of cork, chemicals, and medicines.
  • Save cooling and heating costs.
  • Raise property values.
  • Make immeasurable emotional and sentimental connections.

A city without trees would be an ugly and barren place.

Every tree counts

Each year, garden clubs count the trees they have planted. If your Garden Circle has planted trees any time between February 1, 2019, and February 29, 2020, the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs wants to hear from you.

Kat Spieker, state chair for trees and reforestation, requests that each Circle complete the Tree Planting Record form from the FFGC website. The form is due March 10, so there is plenty of time to share in the count.

If your Circle has members who have helped with a church, school, or other community landscaping efforts, those count, too. The form asks for both the common name and botanical name of the tree planted.

Last year, FFGC clubs planted 188,00 trees, representing 207 species.

Arbor Day Festival

Across the country, Arbor Day celebrates the planting, upkeep, and preservation of trees. National Arbor Day is observed on the last Friday in April—April 24 in 2020. Florida Arbor Day is observed on the third Friday of January—January 17 in 2020.

This year, Jacksonville celebrates Arbor Day on March 28. Greenscape of Jacksonville, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching Jacksonville through planting, protecting, and promoting trees, invites the community to its fourth annual Arbor Day Festival and Greenscape Tree Giveaway at 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds.

Greenscape will give away thousands of trees to attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. Activities include crafts for children and educational talks on trees and the environment.

These are species of trees Greenscape plans to give out:

  • Crape Myrtle
  • Southern Magnolia
  • Dahoon Holly
  • Fringe Tree
  • Red Maple
  • Live Oak
  • Bald Cypress
  • Redbud

A week later, Greenscape is providing 100 small trees to the Garden Club of Jacksonville to give away at Blooms Galore & More on April 4.