Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Super Arbor Day

What makes an Arbor Day super?  
When it's a Super Bowl, Super Grow Arbor Day!

In honor of Super Bowl XLV The City of Grapevine is one of 12 host cities in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex participating in the Super Grow XLV program.  More than 6500 trees will be planted throughout the host cities to offset the environmental impact of the Super Bowl being held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on February 6, 2011.

For those non-football fans among you (and for those of us who haven't studied Roman numerals since elementary school), XLV is 45 to us common folk.  So to commemorate Super Bowl 45, the City of Grapevine planted 45 trees on their January 8 Arbor Day (with the help of many volunteers).  Grapevine has received the "Tree City USA" award for the past 25 years for its participation in Arbor Day.

Here are my tips for successfully planting trees...

When planting trees, never add anything to the planting hole except the soil that came out of the hole.  Plant the trees high.  Take the tree out of the container, scrape the top couple inches of soil off the top of the root ball until you can see the flare of the trunk.  (I just use a broom to brush the soil away).  That is the top of the root ball.  Break up any roots encircling the root ball.  

Plant the tree in the planting hole with the top of the root ball (the flare of the trunk) a couple inches ABOVE your soil grade.  Backfill around the root ball with the soil that was dug out of the planting hole.  Water well to settle the soil.   Add compost to the TOP of the root ball area if needed, feathering it out to your surrounding soil grade.  Then mulch around the tree taking care to not cover the trunk flare. 

NOTE:   If you are planting a Shumard Red Oak or Chinese Pistache, you will need to wrap the trunk with tree wrap for two years to prevent sunscald and borer attack. 

A poem was read at the beginning of the Arbor Day festivities.   This poem was written by an elementary student several years ago.  Her poem captures how valuable trees are in our environment.   I wonder whether this student is on her way to getting a degree in forestry now :-)


I once had a dream
about a world without trees.
There were no green things
as far as I could see.

It was time to start my day;
My mom told me to get up.
I ate my pancakes sadly
because there was no maple syrup.

I sat on plastic furniture
because there was no wood.
I played on my plastic piano,
but it wasn't very good.

It really hurt my lungs to breathe.
There were no trees to clean the air.
I looked out of my window.
There was erosion everywhere!

I went out in my yard one day
just to pass the time.
There were no leaves to jump in,
nor big, tall trees to climb.

There were no sounds
of singing birds
or little chipmunks
to be heard.

No soft, sweet fragrance
filled the air
from blossoming trees
which would should've been there.

I found no shady place
to read my book;
No weeping willows
by a shady brook.

I came in thirsty and hungry
But Mom said with a sigh,
"I'm sorry, there's no lemonade,
and I can't make apple pie."

There was no wood for the fireplace,
No nuts for little squirrels,
No paper for me to write on,
No treehouses for little girls.

I woke up from my horrible dream
to the sound of humming bees.
How very thankful I was when I saw
this beautiful world filled with trees.

By Tiffany Rene' Scherich, Silverlake Elementary, February 1996, 4th grade

For another great blog heralding the value and benefit of trees, check out Garden Walk Garden Talk.

Have you ever heard that trees reduce stress and actually aid recovery after surgery?  Since I have surgery on my gimpy arm scheduled for February 15, 
I'll have to put this theory to the test!

Until next time...
Give thanks for the trees!!

Toni :-)


  1. How wonderful that there are now 45 trees planted as a result of volunteer efforts. I also took a look at your Bone structure post. Gosh, I love the design and layout of your garden! The paths and the structures are so well considered and implemented. I am sure I will be back before February, but let me take a second now to say that I hope the planned surgery will go well and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  2. Would love to hear more about not amending the soil when you plant trees. I know the theory is that if you amend the tree doesn't grow roots outside the cozy hole. Has this method ever been scientifically compared to trees planted with amendments? The poem by the 4th grader is very special.

  3. I love blogs - I just learn so much from you guys! This is really cool that so many trees are going to be planted in the DFW area! I'll be praying for you for a speedy recovery and skilled doctors.

  4. @Jennifer: Grapevine actually planted 150 trees above and beyond the 45, but 45 were saved for the Arbor Day celebration. It was a fun event :-) And thanks for your nice comment about the "Bones" post. I received so many great comments so quickly, I did not get a chance to respond (I wish Blogger had an easier way to respond individually). And thanks for your well wishes for my surgery. I've been dealing with the ol' arm since May(ish) so I'm ready to get back to diggin' in the dirt! Spring is on its way, after all :-)

    @Carolyn: Yes, the theory is that if nice cushy soil amendments are added to the tree's planting hole, that when the roots hit the native soil, they will turn back into the hole eventually encircling or girdling the tree. This is information that I've learned over the years of various master gardener training, etc., etc. But the university websites that I visited said "Research shows." All I know is if I were a tree planted in my neck of the woods, if you gave me a nice cushy home, I'd never venture out into the heavy clay or hard rock of my surroundings. Texas has some challenging soils to say the least! The poem does make us stop and think about all of the benefits of trees, doesn't it?

    Hi Cat! Yes, I learned something new when I went to the Arbor Day celebration, too. Apparently this happens in every city where a Super Bowl is held. Who knew?! Oh, and thanks so much for your prayers for my arm. Lots of Scriptures in our Isaiah study have been an encouragement to me. Lord willing, by springtime I'll be good as new!

  5. Hi Toni and thanks for the shout out. And to add... Cornell did the testing and all information from them relates this in their tree planting info. No adding soil conditioners. But, so many still specify this to be done. My growers does mix in sandy soil from his farm and pulls out the huge hunks of red clay from the planting hole. But it is mixed with the remaining existing soil first.

  6. What a wonderful celebration of trees! I'd never seen that poem before, but how true! This world would be horrid without the trees. I'm so thankful that my piece of Florida is well-endowed. Have fun with that SuperBowl!

  7. Great post! I appreciate the poem. I love my trees! It would be hard to live in a world without them.

  8. @GWGT: Glad to link to your tree post! There are challenging soils all over the country; we just do the best we can and hope for a little shade in the heat of summer :-)

    @Floridagirl and Deb: That poem was written by a local elementary student here in Grapevine schools back in 1996. I wish I could find her now to tell her how much I enjoyed her poem. She's probably in her early 20s now. By the way, not going near the Super Bowl! Too much traffic! I'd rather just plant another tree :-)

  9. Congrats on the Tree City USA! I believe my the City I lived near up north, Watertown NY, won the award sometime after our devestating ice storm of 98. AND I believe the fellow that brought about Arbor Day was from Watertown....I'll have to look into that to be sure.
    I love the sweet poem, what a treat from Tiffany!

    I just realized a family friend of ours from when I was a kid lives not far at all from you! She is in Colleyville! It's a small world! I will make sure she sees your blog!

    Thanks for the tips and the links!

  10. Hi Eve: Yes, Colleyville is the next suburb to the south of Grapevine (you can't tell when you leave one and enter the next). It is a small world, indeed! It would be great to have your friend visit my blog. I am getting my late winter newsletter together with lots of gardening tips for our area, if she's interested. It will be ready in a couple weeks.