Shoppers get free trees at weekend farmer’s market

By Lauren Bowar
Montgomery, AL (February 21, 2010)- What looked like boxes of sticks at the Montgomery Tree Committee’s booth at the curb market on Madison Avenue on Saturday were actually various types of oak, crape myrtle, zelkova and other tree varieties to be given away. In celebration of Arbor Day, Feb. 24, the Montgomery Tree Committee, the Alabama Forestry Commission, the Montgomery Clean City Commission and the city of Montgomery are distributing free trees throughout the city.

But you don’t have to live in the city to pick up one, or five, said Susan Carmichael, MTC board member and MCCC director. The group received approximately 2,500 trees to give out at the curb market Saturday, at the Arbor Day celebration at the Capitol on Wednesday and at the farmer’s market next Saturday. The tree varieties were chosen mostly because they are native to the area, said Mike Jones, MTC board member and environmental scientist with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
The Alabama Forestry Commission donated the trees, which were grown at the Hopper Nursery on the Hanceville campus of Wallace State College. Carmichael, Jones and other volunteers started their day at 8 a.m. Saturday, and by 10:30 had given away almost 750 trees. The group had run out of four different varieties, although Carmichael said other locations would have more.
Sue Lindsey of Highland Home took three river birch, which Jones said like a wet environment and to be grouped. “I really appreciate (what they are doing),” she said. “I live in the country and have lots of trees. I think it’s going to be beautiful.” Mac Spurlin and his wife, Eunice, took a dozen trees, mostly varieties of oak. “We have land in Covington County,” he said. “We go camping out there and are trying to fill it in.” Patsie DeMo, a master gar?dener in Montgomery, took three varieties, but her favorite is the river birch. “I have a moist place and know they do well in a moist place,” she said when asked why she chose that kind. “Also because of the exfoliating bark.”
Jones, who has helped give away the seedlings for the past three years, knows the importance of trees in the community. “They help with clean air and clean water,” he said. “We also get the chance to educate people about trees.”
Other than being native to the area, the trees were chosen be?cause of their presence. “Larger shade trees, like the oak, give a sense of community,” Jones said. Creating a better environment in Montgomery is what matters most to DeMo. “It’s important that people know we are trying to go green in Montgomery,” she said. Dianne Bush, president of MTC, agreed. “We want to make (people) more aware of urban forestry and the urban canopy that we are trying to create within the city,” she said.
Related Resources:
Montgomery Advertiser- Shoppers get free trees at weekend farmer’s market
Montgomery Tree Committee