Celebrate Arbor Day! – A Message from Scott Phillips and Woodcraft

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Scott Phillips, co-host of The American Woodshop on PBS, and Woodcraft are asking Americans to take time to celebrate Arbor Day, a national holiday that focuses attention on the value of maintaining an adequate and healthy tree population.

The national holiday is the last Friday in April – April 28 this year [2017] – however, state observances vary based on appropriate tree planting times.

Below: Scott and Suzy Phillips, co-hosts of The American Woodshop on PBS, are surrounded by trees at their home, including a beautiful redbud tree.

“Whatever you do on Arbor Day, celebrate life. Celebrate someone you really love and plant trees in their memory,” Scott said. “Trees are an important part of all of our lives in ways we never think about. Smell that fresh air! You can thank the trees for a lot of that. Hear the songbirds? The more trees, the more music. And taste it in fresh clear water. The trees take care of our watershed and in the process give us pure water.”

To help readers take his advice, Scott made a video that demonstrates how to plant a tree and some tips for keeping it healthy. 

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. Click photo for an interactive map.

“I became a forester when I graduated from Michigan State in 1978. It runs in my family,” Scott said. “My father received the very first master of forestry degree in 1947 from Purdue University. So it really is in our blood. I literally have been in the woods all of my life.”

Scott said he gets questions every week about planting trees. “The single most important tip for this national Arbor Day celebration is to make sure you match the tree to the site. It will increase the chances of survival tremendously, and it will also make the tree grow faster. Talk to an expert to make sure your soil and climate ideally match the tree.”

Other important planting tips according to Scott: know the zone you live in, plant in spring, and water and mulch well.

“The zone will tell you the hardiness of planting the tree so that it can make it through the lowest winter temperatures well,” Scott said. “Another very important idea is to plant in the spring so the roots get a head start on being established to survive through a long winter. Also, add lots of water and mulch to the base to help the micro root development, and you’ll have a friend for life. So go grab that shovel; you’ve got some work to do!”

Photo courtesy of Arbor Day Foundation

Nebraska First State to Establish Arbor Day Observance

The need for an ongoing effort to plant trees was recognized nearly a century and a half ago by J. Sterling Morton, editor of the first newspaper in Nebraska, a treeless plain in the 1850s. In 1872 the Nebraska Board of Agriculture accepted his resolution to set aside a day to plant trees “both forest and fruit,” and set the date for April 10.

Today National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. All 50 states, Puerto Rico and some U.S. Territories have passed laws adopting Arbor Day, which is celebrated on a date appropriate for tree planting in their region.

In 1972, the centennial of the first Arbor Day observance, the Arbor Day Foundation was established and has grown to be the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with over one million members, supporters, and valued partners.

Photo courtesy of Arbor Day Foundation

The foundation promotes tree planting through several conservation and education programs, including Community Tree Recovery that provides trees to residents of areas that have experienced destruction of their trees through flood, fire, storm and other disasters. For more information, visit www.arborday.org.

In addition to co-hosting The American Woodshop with his wife Suzy, Scott has a full-time woodworking enterprise that is founded around his Michigan State degree in forestry. Believing that if you want to build great furniture you have to respect the woods, Scott is actively involved in habitat reforestation and riparian restoration projects. Find out more about Scott and Suzy at www.wbgu.org/americanwoodshop.

To learn more about Woodcraft, please contact the store nearest you, visit www.woodcraft.com or call (800) 535-4482. To learn about Woodcraft franchise opportunities, visit www.woodcraftfranchise.com or email woodcraftfranchise@woodcraft.com.

Thank a tree and plant a tree!

We hope you'll be inspired!


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