April signals the coming of spring, baseball – and Arbor Day. This month will see the 140th anniversary of Arbor Day in America, a day when thousands – millions? – across the country take a few minutes to plant a tree, perhaps in honor of a loved one, perhaps to help a reforestation effort, perhaps just because. Kids love this day, especially when classrooms are moved outside and they can get their hands dirty. This year, the enthusiasm is bound to be exaggerated as eager and highly caffeinated children beg Mom and Dad to let them a) see “The Lorax,” b) see “The Lorax” again and c) plant a tree, just like they saw in “The Lorax.”

Forty years ago, in the April 1, 1972, issue of American Nurseryman, our intrepid editors encouraged readers to take advantage of Arbor Day’s centennial. Kids then, too, were all atwitter about planting a tree – and begging Mom and Dad to tag along.

Arbor Day Anniversary

During the month of April, most states will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Arbor Day. Last year, the President of the United States signed a bill designating the last Friday of April as National Arbor Day. But, unfortunately, in the final stages of passage, the phrase “of each year” was deleted. Therefore, the law applied only to 1971. This year, two bills, H.J. Res. 563 and H.J. Res. 677, were introduced to correct the situation. It is hoped by proponents of the National Arbor Day idea that these bills will be passed and signed into law.

It is to be hoped that nurserymen have made preparations to observe the celebration and capitalize on the publicity that it should receive. Tree-planting ceremonies create much goodwill for participating nurserymen. In addition, Arbor Day has long provided nurserymen with the opportunity to encourage schools to stage programs on this day. Every opportunity should be taken to acquaint children with the wonders of growing plants. Enthusiasm stirred up in a child can often rub off on his parents; as a result, they may decide to landscape their properties better.

An added stimulus to the promotion of this day should come from the efforts of the Arbor Day Foundation, whose activities, aims and plans are detailed in a story found elsewhere in this issue. It is to be expected that this group will have the full support of the nursery industry, for it can serve as the leader and guiding light to give added recognition to this important day.

With such an important event as the 100th anniversary of Arbor Day coming up, it is puzzling that there were no discussions or reports presented at winter nurserymen’s conventions about their state associations’ plans for participation and no suggestions as to how nurserymen could participate. More effort to stimulate action could have been made at these conventions.

However, judging from items in various state associations’ newsletters, plans have been made to participate in tree-planting ceremonies and to provide materials that will assist members in celebrating this centennial and capitalizing on its promotional value. It, therefore, appears that nurserymens’ associations have been working hard during the past few months to make this a widely recognized day. It is to be hoped that nurserymen’s efforts, as well as those of others, will give this day the recognition it deserves – not only this year but in the years to come.

Over the past 100 years, many trees have been planted because of Arbor Day. Therefore, nurserymen should welcome the opportunity to enter into the celebration and to give thanks for this special day by planting trees and encouraging others to do so.