It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Welcome to “Arbor Month!” Gov. Jay Inslee officially proclaimed April 10, 2019 as Washington’s Arbor Day, but don’t let that stop you from celebrating the “Tree Planter’s Holiday” at any time. Communities can proclaim the holiday at any time of the year, and National Arbor Day is on the last Friday of April, the 26th this year.

What a month to celebrate! We have experienced an exceptional April here in Olympia. It may be because the weather has been relatively dry that the fragrance of blooming plants is so strong this year. The cherries and magnolias on the Capitol Campus are in full bloom, and it is a joy to watch children scoop up fallen petals, throw them into the air, and spin around with the cascading pink flowers.

This is the time of the year when many folks decide it is time to select and plant a tree, often simply because of the stunning beauty of floral displays. While floral and foliage displays are certainly attributes to consider, remember to think in “tree time” when you select a tree to plant. Trees need adequate vertical and horizontal space both above ground and below, in order to grow and thrive. Keep in mind that trees are not always adaptable to all sites, and may be susceptible to conditions that attenuate their growth or cause them to fail more quickly than anticipated; soil, moisture, light, and drainage all affect tree growth. It is good to carefully evaluate a site, and even get a soil test, before selecting and planting a tree that will grow to maturity in that space.

Here are a couple of good resources, to help you select, plant, and care for trees:

Guideline Specifications for Selecting, Planting, and Early Care of Young Trees

Tree Owner’s Manual

Choosing the right tree

Planting a Tree

All About Soil

Happy Arbor Day!

By Linden J. Lampman, program manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program