Friday, April 30 was Arbor Day, and the Fenton City Beautification Commission celebrated by giving away 150 white pine saplings to the public at Fenton City Hall.

Patricia Lockwood of the Fenton City Beautification Commission, said the organization has sponsored the Arbor Day tree program for the past seven years and has given away approximately 1,500 saplings to area residents.

“The program is also focused on the importance of trees and their impact on the environment. Trees not only provide shelter, noise buffers and contribute to cooling our homes, but most importantly provide oxygen and habitats for the wildlife. The Commission is grateful to Fenton Area Public Schools who have allowed us to give saplings and educational information to students on the importance of trees,” Lockwood said.

Arbor Day was first held in 1872, and the holiday is meant to spread awareness of the importance of trees and to encourage tree planting, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Until 1965, the Upper and Lower peninsulas had separate dates for Arbor Day due to the difference in weather conditions during spring for tree planting. Arbor Day celebrations now take place during the entire last week of April.

White pines are Michigan’s state tree. Public Act 7 signed on March 4, 1955 commemorates the tree.

These trees have gray bark, produce long cones and have deep green needles that grow in clusters of five. They grow fast and tall. Many grow higher than 100 feet in the wild.

Michigan used to be the leading timber producer in the nation due to the population size of the white pine tree, according to the MDNR.

Today, two independent agencies oversee Michigan’s state forests to ensure future tree growth in the state.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources tips for planting trees:

• Dig a hole three times wider than the tree’s container and about as deep.

• Set the tree in the middle of the hole, and bring the root collar (the place where the roots meet the stem) just above ground level.

• Backfill the hole firmly with soil, creating a basin where water can settle.

• Water the tree and spread mulch around the base, leaving space around the trunk. Don’t build a mulch pile around the tree’s trunk, which can grow mold.

• Water frequently in the first year and watch your tree grow big and beautiful.

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