Montevallo organizes early Arbor Day celebration: Program officials expect to give away more than 2,500 tree seedlings for adoption

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Although National Arbor day isn&8217;t until April 27, planters in the south have to get an early start and that is just what the city of Montevallo plans to do.

The city is hosting its 15th annual Arbor Day on Feb. 24 at 9 a.m. at the Orr Park building.

Arbor Day Chair Herschel Hale said the National Arbor Day began in Nebraska, which puts it on a bit of a different planting schedule than what will work in Alabama.

&8220;In the south we have a short dormant season for trees,&8221; Hale said. &8220;Our trees would already be budded out if we waited until the national day.&8221;

The state Arbor Days for Alabama, Georgia and other southern states are usually held the last Saturday in February.

The city finances most of the seedlings other than what is donated by local businesses and citizens. Hale said because the trees are donated, many cities only allow one tree per person but he said Montevallo wants people to plant as many as they want. They just have to do so within a week, so the trees do not die.

This year the city is providing more than 2,500 seedlings for adoption. Hale said people shouldn&8217;t get nervous if they don&8217;t know how to plant a tree. &8220;We&8217;ll provide diagrams. Plus, I&8217;ve got four guys who are basically tree experts coming to show people how to plant them.&8221;

Anyone who comes will also get the chance to enter in drawings for larger trees and supplies such as shovels and mulch. But Hale cautions people to get to the Orr Park building early.

&8220;We open the doors at nine and by 11 we will run 300 to 400 people from around the area through there.&8221;

Many local vendors will be on hand including Green Valley nursery, Don Whitten with birdhouses, Tim Tingle with tree carvings, Shelby County Master Gardeners, Cahaba River Society, University of Montevallo Environmentalist Club and the Alabama Urban Forestry Association

To conclude the day, two tours will be provided. One tour will be of tree carvings with Tim Tingle and another through the Ebenezer Swamp.

The cities of Alabaster and Chelsea are also holding Arbor Days on the 24th. Alabaster&8217;s celebration will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Buck Creek Park and Chelsea&8217;s will be at Chelsea Park Elementary from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m