When people typically think of April holidays, few — other than April Fool’s Day — typically come to mind. One holiday that takes place in April which many people may not know about is Arbor Day, which aims to encourage individuals and groups to recognize the important role that trees play in our lives. People typically plant trees to celebrate this lesser-known holiday. Do you wonder how to celebrate Arbor Day in NJ? Read on to learn more details about this fascinating holiday and how you can celebrate in New Jersey by planting a tree in your yard.
About the Holiday
The history of Arbor Day goes back to 1872 when it was first celebrated formally in the state of Nebraska, according to the National Arbor Day Foundation. However, people have been planting trees as long as anyone can remember. Trees are symbols of life going back to the dawn of human civilization. That’s why, when a Nebraska resident by the name of J. Sterling Morton suggested setting aside one day each year to plant trees, the State Board of Agriculture accepted his solution. Nebraskans noted the state’s lack of trees as a reason to celebrate this particular type of plant.
The First Arbor Day and Today
Originally, April 10 was declared the first Arbor Day. Counties in Nebraska that planted the most trees on that day would receive prizes. Incredibly, Nebraska residents planted over 1 million trees on the very first Arbor Day. Since then, it’s popularity has only grown. More than 45 states and territories celebrated Arbor Day in 1920. Today, all 50 states — plus Puerto Rico and some territories — celebrate Arbor Day, which might take place on different days depending on the state. Nationally, its date moved from April 10 to April 22. That date coincides with J. Sterling Morton’s birthday, in honor of the noted Nebraskan journalist and naturalist who first suggested the idea for the holiday. People officially observe Arbor Day on the last Friday in April. Each year, people all across America celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees in their own yard or around their neighborhood, helping to keep Morton’s original idea alive.
How Do Trees Help the Environment?
The more information scientists gather about the role that trees play in the environment, the more they realize how important trees are to everything from weather to wildlife and agriculture to property values. The benefits of trees in nature are clear as they form an indispensable part of the water cycle, energy cycle and carbon dioxide cycle. These processes are required for all organisms to continue living on earth.
The Air We Breathe
Quite literally, trees create the air we breathe. As part of the process of creating food for themselves, trees take in carbon dioxide from the environment and convert it to oxygen. This not only allows us to have air to take into our lungs but also removes a critical greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Trees naturally fight back against the global warming trend that has resulted from an increase in carbon dioxide that comes from human pollution. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one acre of forest absorbs six tons of CO2 each year and emits four tons of oxygen. That oxygen is enough to support 18 people.
Benefits the Soil
Planting trees is also crucial for the soil, as forests help anchor soil to the ground. That prevents waterlogging and locks in other harmful greenhouse gases such as methane. Trees help prevent erosion from occurring on hillsides due to the roots that hold back soil.
How Do Trees Help Your Home?
The benefits of trees don’t stop with the general environment — there are also numerous ways you can take advantage of trees in your own yard. Their impact on home values is unmistakeable, as a study found that 83 percent of realtors believe mature trees make a home more likely to sell if it is worth less than $150,000. That figure goes up to 98 percent for homes over $250,000, according to Arbor National Mortgage & American Forests. Trees can increase property values by as much as 20 percent, according to Management Information Services.
Reduce Your Energy Bill
Trees can even lower your energy bill. Shade from a single tree can equal the power of 10 room-size air conditioners running for 20 hours each day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
What are Some Trees You Can Plant?
When you consider what trees to plant in your yard for Arbor Day, look to the native trees of New Jersey.
The State Tree and More
The state tree is the Northern Red Oak, but you can also plant other varieties such as pine, spruce, larch, and hemlock. Make sure you have the right tools to irrigate your tree and provide it with the care it deserves.
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