HOUSTON – Those who plant trees believe in the future of Houston, Okolona and Chickasaw County.
The Chickasaw County Soil and Water Conservation District gave away more than 1,600 seedlings in eight different varieties at its annual tree planting event Feb. 20 at the Extension offices on Lee Horn Drive.
“Arbor Day is actually April 25, but February is Tree Planting Month and the climate in Chickasaw County is better for planting trees in February,” said Debby Carnathan, Chickasaw County Soil and Water Conservation District Executive. “We’ve been doing this for years and always have a good response.”
Carnathan said residents began showing up at 8 a.m. And the volume of people seeking trees prompted a line for form. The Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) took the seedlings to Okolona after lunch for a give-away at the Mini-Park downtown.
“We just asked for a name and where you were from,” said Carnathan. “We gave away up to three seedlings per variety. If we have any left over we ask people to come back.
Persimmon, black walnut, redbud, river birch, cypress, sawtooth oak, white flowering dogwood and loblolly pine seedlings were made available to residents from Houston, VanVleet, Sparta, Woodland and Anchor.
“We choose these varieties bases on yard appeal and to build wildlife habitat,” said Carnathan. “Trees do so much for your land. Picking the right tree and planting it in the right spot can really bring out the best in your property.”
Most trees and shrubs in cities or communities are planted to provide beauty or shade. Trees alter the environment by moderating climate, improving air quality, conserving water and harboring wildlife. Timber is also a major industry in Chickasaw County.
Carnathan said the SWCD can also tell a landowner which tree can be best for their property, how to plant their tree and care for it.
“We initially planned to give out trees last week, but cold weather held up delivery,” said Carnathan. “You want to get your new trees in the ground before spring starts and the sap starts to rise. This really is the perfect time of year to plant a tree.”
The seedlings are made available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about the SWCD tree planting program, call 456-1499, ext. 3.