Plant a tree as a legacy to future generations on Arbor Day.
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.
Tremendous Trees: A Visit with the Living Giants of the Forest at Hawaii Nature Center, 2131 Makiki Heights Drive. This is a program for 3 to 5 year-olds and their parents, and includes a short hike and leaf-printing a T-shirt. Bring your own T-shirt and $5 for nonmembers or $3 for members. Call 955-0100.
Arbor Day in Waimanalo: Visit 12 nurseries that are generally not open to the public. This is a great opportunity to buy a tree. Workshops are scheduled at each nursery between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., ranging in topics from Winter Care for Waterlilies (10:30 a.m. at Kevin J. Mulkern Landscaping, 41-639 Kaulukanu St.) to Neem and Curry Leaf Tree Uses (12:30 p.m. at Neem Trees of Hawaii and C&L Orchids, 41-520 Hihimanu St.) Call 672-3383 for locations and times.
On Sunday the city's three botanical gardens will offer free Tours of Trees. The gardens are Foster at 50 N. Vineyard Blvd., Ho'omaluhia at the end of Luluku Road in Kaneohe, and Wahiawa at 1396 California Ave. Call 522-7066 for reservations.
On the following Saturday, Nov. 9, Hawaiian Electric Co. is sponsoring "Right Tree, Right Place" between 8 and 11 a.m. at the parking lot next to Archer Lane off N. King St., at the Kahe Power Plant at 89-900 Farrington Highway and at the Koolau Office at 1387 Ulupii St.
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.