0313 Toomer's Seedlings
Toomer's Oaks seedling await planting at Aldridge Gardens.
This year's Arbor Day celebration held by Hoover Beautification Board will include planting a special seedling from Toomer's Corner in Auburn.
The 10-foot tall Toomer's Oaks seedling, donated to Aldridge Gardens courtesy of Eddie and Kay Aldridge, who purchased two of the few remaining Toomer's Oaks offspring from Auburn University.
"Sadly, the original Toomer's Oaks on the Auburn University campus are now slated for removal after a valiant but unsuccessful attempt by the University to counter the effects of herbicide poisoning," said Hoover City Forester Colin Conner. "But we encourage all Auburn fans, tree fans and others to attend Arbor Day and assist with planting the new Toomer's oak."
The event begins with tree plantings at participating Hoover Schools and culminates in an event at Aldridge Gardens, complete with tree giveaway celebration and recognition of student Arbor Day essay contest winners, a formal dedication ceremony, refreshments, plant sales, full access to the Gardens and plenty of fellowship.
This year's festivities will take place March 2 from 10 a.m.-noon at Aldridge Gardens. Admission is free, and all Hoover residents are encouraged to attend.
"As we did last year, we will have a variety of trees in 3-gallon containers available to fit different site configurations throughout the city," said Beautification Board Chair Mary Ross Searcy. "We will also have experts on hand to help residents select the correct tree given their landscape."
Many Hoover residents may not know that the city they call home also bears the distinction of being a 13-time recipient of the Tree City USA award, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation. This is a major source of pride for the Beautification Board, which works hard and often behind-the-scenes to maintain the City's award-worthy standards, requiring a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
"One of the most enjoyable parts of the celebration is recognizing our talented essay contest winners," Searcy said. It is also the highlight for students, after studying proper tree planting and care, reciting the Arbor Day Pledge and participating in hands-on planting dedication ceremonies - where they learn firsthand about species like overcup oak, dogwood, dwarf chinkapin oak, Chickasaw plum and red maple.
Last year, Trace Crossings student Samantha Amerson claimed the Overall Winner prize for her Arbor Day-themed essay.
Winning students receive a plaque and a book about the trees of North America.
Don't miss your opportunity to pick up a free tree for your own landscape, and to recognize the essay winners from Hoover's Arbor Day Celebration 2013, not to mention camaraderie with your fellow nature loving neighbors.
Species Available at Arbor Day
1. Blueberry (Vaccinium ashei) - Small deciduous and multi-trunked
shrub or tree that can reach 10-20' in height. Highly important in
commercial fruit production. Most blueberry varieties need a pollenizer for
maximum fruit set and a soil pH in the range of 4.0-5.5. In addition to
fruit production, blueberry has excellent ornamental qualities.
2. Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) - Small deciduous tree that grows
slowly to 20' ht. at maturity. Requires shade and well-drained soils.
Interesting bark and fruit. Typically has white flowers and red fall color.
Popular ornamental but prone to Dogwood anthracnose in certain areas.
3. Southern Crabapple (Malus angustifolia) - Small deciduous tree that
grows to 25' ht. at maturity. Showy flowers in the spring with thorns along
the branches. Tolerates a variety of sites but prefers shade.
4. Hawthorne (Crataegus monogyna) - Small, deciduous shrub or tree that
can grow to 30' ht. at maturity. Showy, white flowers in the spring with
thorns along the branches and trunk. Produces a small, pome fruit,
sometimes known as a "haw". Leaves have lobed or serrated margins and are
variable in shape. Tolerates a variety of sites but prefers shade
5. Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) - Smaller to medium sized
deciduous shade tree that typically grows 20-50' tall with a narrow, rounded
head. Prefers sandy soil and also rich bottomland. Interesting bark and
mixed fall color. Produces edible fruit.
6. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) - Medium sized deciduous tree that can
grow to 40' ht. at maturity. Leaf lobes vary and leaves are aromatic when
crushed. Mature bark is reddish-brown with deep furrows. Tolerates site
7. Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) - Medium sized evergreen
conifer that grows 40-50' high by 8-20' wide. Aromatic foliage, interesting
fruit and somewhat showy, exfoliating bark. Tolerant of adverse conditions.
Prefers full sun and alkaline soils. Variable branching habit in the wild.
8. Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata) - Medium to large deciduous shade tree
that typically grow to 50' high under landscape conditions. Capable of
growing to 100'. Produces large acorns. Tolerant of adverse conditions
once established. Comparable to white oak (Quercus alba) with respect to
bark and leaf characteristics. White oak group.
9. Chinese Chestnut (Castanea mollissima) - Medium to large deciduous
shade tree that typically grows to 50' in height with an equal crown spread.
Produces desirable, edible fruit (nut) and has interesting ornamental
qualities. Prefers moist, acidic, well-drained soils and full sun exposure.
Not immune to Chestnut blight but resistant to the point that healthy trees
will not become infected with the fungus. Note: Flower of this tree can
smell foul and nut husks are sharp and spiny. For these qualities to be
tolerable, planting location is critical.
10. Pecan (Carya illinoensis) - Large deciduous shade tree that can grow
to +/- 90' in height. Produces a highly desirable, edible fruit (nut) and
also has great ornamental quality. Wood is heavy but fairly brittle,
especially with age. Fruit production on pecan is primarily dependent on
rich soil conditions and full sun exposure.
11. Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) - Large deciduous conifer that
typically grows 50-70' high but can grow to 100' or more. Versatile tree
that is commonly found on wet sites but is also tolerant of dry and
drought-like conditions. Beautiful, rust fall color and pyramidal shape.
12. Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) - Large and fast growing
deciduous shade tree that easily grows to 100' tall. Grayish brown bark
with interesting furrows. Showy flowers, reminiscent of the tulip flower.
Prefers slightly acidic, deep, moist soils and needs plenty of space.
Somewhat prone to pests and diseases.