LiveGreen: Free trees for fall planting

By Blake Van Jacobs, LiveGreen | October 14, 2020

Image with caption: Thanks to a grant, the med center received five trees to plant around campus.

Thanks to a grant, the med center received five trees to plant around campus.

For the second year in a row, the med center received a "Free Trees for Fall Planting" grant from a collaborative effort from the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) and Nebraska Statewide Arboretum (NSA).

This year, the med center received three oak trees, one elm tree and one tulip tree. All were planted the day after they were received. They replaced trees that had died or were damaged, and two were used in areas that will have trees die off later, at which time the new trees will be established and ready to take their place.

The goal of the NFS and NSA is to have at least 500 trees planted within Nebraska this fall in areas that are of civic importance or have a high need for trees. In LiveGreen's "Urban Trees" article, we noted that urban trees provide a canopy that help cool down urban areas. Trees provide numerous environmental benefits including storm-water runoff capture, carbon storage and sequestration, and reduced energy use, all of which positively impact human health.

To that end, the Nature Conservancy and the National Institute of Health began a study in 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky, focusing on how nature can better improve human health in urban areas. Planting trees in urban areas and in neighborhoods not only beautifies the area but provides a valuable, almost priceless, physical and mental health benefit to the community. Continuing to plant trees can spur job creation, decrease air pollution, mitigate climate change and give communities a safer space to live, work and play.

This grant for businesses and other community organizations exists because fall is actually the best time to plant trees. According to the University of Nebraska Extension Office of Community Environment, the warm soil encourages new root formation, the air temperatures encourage trees to produce shoots, and on average more moisture occurs in the fall than in the spring.

According to Bob Henrickson at the NSA, "Plants are less stressed by the heat (in the fall), more likely to develop a strong root system, and gardeners will be way ahead of the game next spring." Fall also usually is the time where garden centers have trees and plants on sale, making fall a great time for you to plant, too.

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