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Arbor Day tree giveaway


  The Henry County Soil and Water Conservation District is partnering with the Henry County Master Gardeners to hold the District’s Annual Arbor Day Tree Giveaway on Friday, February 15 at 8:30 a.m. Trees will be available at these four locations until they are gone: The Aubrey Harvey Agriculture Building, 333 Phillips Dr., McDonough, Heritage Park, 97 Lake Dow Rd., McDonough, The Locust Grove Municipal Building, 3644 Hwy 42 S., Locust Grove, and Stockbridge City Hall, 4640 N. Henry Blvd, Stockbridge.

  The three species selected for this year’s giveaway are Catalpa, Redbud and River Burch. These bare root seedling trees should be planted as soon as possible. Plant in well-drained soil in full sunlight. Keep seedlings moist and cool until planted. Planting holes should be 8-12 inches in diameter and should be at least 8-12 inches deep. Pull loose soil back over the roots, filling the hole half way. Tamp down soil lightly, then backfill the rest of the area around the hole and water. Do not compact the soil by tamping down the wet soil. Water each seedling with one to two gallons at planting time and check soil moisture periodically to be sure it has not dried out. Fertilizer use on new seedlings is not recommended and neither is placing  manure or nitrogen based fertilizer in the planting hole. Wood chips, pine straw, pine bark, cypress bark, composted sawdust, gravel and composted leaves will protect your tree from the outside elements when applied 3-5 inches deep around the tree, but not touching the seedling. 

  Southern Catalpa is a small ornamental tree, with showy white or purple-tinted flowers and unusual long, cigar-shaped seed pods. It is host to caterpillars that can be used for fishing bait. It is fast growing and prefers moist, well drained, alkaline soil,  but can tolerate a range of soil types.

  The River Birch needs full sun and tolerates fairly dry soil once it is established. It grows to 40’ to 70’ and has a 40’- 60’ spread. It  has lustrous medium-green leaves but is spectacular in the winter with it’s  cinnamon-colored, exfoliating bark.

  The Redbud is a shrub or small tree seldom reaching 50 feet in height and 12 inches in diameter.   It has showy purplish flowers that bloom in the spring before the leaves emerge. Although the redbud does well in most soil types, it prefers moist, well-drained sites.



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