The Society of Municipal Arborists announced the Zelkova Serrata – Musashino – as the 2016 Urban Tree of the Year. Named after a city in Tokyo, the tree can be successfully cultivated in Zones 5 through 8, thereby excluding exposure to its beauty to any of us residing south of the Panhandle and Tallahassee. None the less, trees play a more vital role in our lives than just being pleasing to look at. In the month of April the United States recognizes Arbor Day; a seemingly forgotten national tree planting holiday whose roots can be traced back to J. Sterling Morton’s proposal to Nebraska’s State Board of Agriculture on January 4, 1872. Although Florida celebrates Arbor Day each January 3rd, there are numerous ways Floridians can participate in the cultivation and preservation of our trees.
One such way is through communal participation in programs created by Tree City USA. The Tree City USA program has been making cities and towns greener since 1976; Florida has 165 participating communities who have been involved in the program from one to thirty-seven years. The nationwide movement to plant trees has been aiding communities experience the benefits provided by trees including increased property values, a reduction in energy consumption, the reinvigoration of neighborhoods, the provision of vital wildlife habitats, and a reduction in air and noise pollution. To learn more about the efforts and programs of Tree City USA visit the website.