Ever Green

By Lois Taylor

Friday, November 1, 1996

Plant a tree as a legacy to future generations on Arbor Day.

Treat a tree with kindness
this Arbor Day

HAPPY Arbor Day. It really doesn't have much of a ring to it. Hallmark hasn't recognized it yet, and hardly anybody gives parties, but Arbor Day deserves to be more than a nonholiday.

One problem is that its date moves around. On the mainland, if they celebrate it at all, it is in the spring when trees are coming into leaf. Here, we recognize the first Friday in November as Arbor Day, and this is it.

Hawaii's first Arbor Day was celebrated in 1905, when Gov. George R. Carter found himself with 3,445 trees on his hands and arranged for their planting. Our current Governor participates in a tree planting at 1 p.m. today at the Department of Land and Natural Resources Visitor Center, 1151 Punchbowl St. 103.

Kaulunani, a federally funded urban forestry program that promotes the planting of trees in cities, and Foster Botanical Garden appear to be among the few local organizations to take Arbor Day seriously. According to Teresa Trueman-Madriaga, who coordinates the Kaulunani program, there will be several events to mark the day. Most of them take place tomorrow. Wear walking shoes and sun screen.

At each of these locations Hawaiian Electric will be giving away free trees, including areca palms, dwarf date palms, mock orange, Tahitian gardenia and lignum vitae. There will be descriptions of the growing pattern of each tree, which gets us back to the message of Arbor Day.

If you choose the right tree for your property you add value to your home and beauty to your life. But the wrong tree - one that is too big or is too close to the house or blocks the view or has an intrusive root system - can become a major nuisance.

Remember that it's war out there. In your garden, trees, shrubs, ground covers and grasses all compete for the same sunlight, water and rooting space. Most tree roots don't shoot straight down, but spread through the top three feet of soil, and the majority of the fine roots that absorb nutrients are in the top six inches.

So before you plant a tree, Kaulunani suggests that you ask yourself these questions:

Why am I planting? Do I want shade, a windbreak, to screen an unattractive view or privacy?

What will the mature tree look like? How tall will it be and how far will its crown spread?

How will it fit into its surroundings? Will it hit power lines or will its roots crack my lanai? Will it block views or drop leaves into the neighbors' pool?

Will it flourish where I live? Walk around the neighborhood and see which trees are growing well and how they are used in landscaping.

And have a Happy Arbor Day.

Send queries along with name and phone number to: Evergreen by Lois Taylor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802. Or send e-mail to features@starbulletin.com. Please be sure to include a phone number.

Evergreen by Lois Taylor is a regular Friday feature of the
Honolulu Star-Bulletin. © 1996 All rights reserved.


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