By Cathy Spaulding
Muskogee, OK (October 11, 2008)- Muskogee residents can help restore the town’s historic urban forest and get some prime fall planting done this month when the Muskogee Tree Board has a tree giveaway. More than 450 potted trees will be distributed during the Muskogee Farmers’ Market on Oct. 18 at the Muskogee Civic Center parking lot. The Muskogee Tree Board and Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department is encouraging residents to plant these trees at their homes.
“The trees will help us maintain our status as a Tree City USA,” said Tree Board chair Karen Coker. “We have evergreens and deciduous trees, all hardy do the area.”
Coker said residents will be asked to give donations of $5 or $10 when they get their trees. She said proceeds from the donations will fund other Tree Board projects. “We don’t want to compete with Lowe’s or anything,” Coker said, referring to a business that sells trees and garden supplies.
More than 550 trees were delivered to the Muskogee Parks and Recreation warehouse Friday morning. Most will be distributed at the giveaway. The other trees will be planted in Muskogee’s Midland Valley neighborhood on Oct. 25 as part of Make A Difference Day and National NeighborWoods Month.
Phil Sapienza of the Parks and Recreation Forestry Division said a variety of trees are will be available, including birch, crape myrtle, redbud, Chinese pistache, two varieties of elm, three varieties of cypress, and five varieties of oak. The trees came from Total Environment Wholesale Nursery of Edmond.
Muskogee Parks Superintendent Rick Ewing said the tree planting also will enable residents to help restore the city’s urban forest. “Back in the 1960s, we lost a huge percentage of Muskogee’s urban forest due to Dutch elm disease,” he said. “We lost a lot of American elm trees. This will help us regenerate a proper urban forest.”
Coker said fall is a “beautiful time to plant trees.” “In fall, the trees don’t have to put out leaves, but they can have a lot of root growth,” she said. “It is the best time to plant trees.”
NeighborWoods Month is an annual community service campaign of the Alliance for Community Trees, an alliance of organizations dedicated to improving the health and livability of cities through tree planting and care.
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