Purchased by KBB from the Georgia Forestry Commission, 2,000 seedlings will be available to the public on Friday at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Starting at 9 a.m., Bartow County Master Gardeners will hand out Georgia oak and red maple seedlings at Adairsville City Hall, Cartersville City Hall, Emerson City Hall, Kingston City Hall, Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center and Georgia Highlands College Cartersville Campus. Highlighting the event’s overall theme of conservation, Georgia Power also will be distributing free compact fluorescent light bulbs.
“The purpose of the event is for us to be able to again maintain the tree canopy as we have in years past,” Phillips said. “It’s important because it offers us all kinds of environmental benefits. ... If we were to create a man-made machine we would never create anything as efficient as a tree.
“We really appreciate all the people that have come out and supported the event and planted trees year after year, because we know that there have been trees that have been damaged due to drought [or] storms. We know that there have been trees that got sickly and old and needed to be taken down. We just want to make sure that when they pick up their seedlings from the Master Gardeners at one of our six locations that they really listen to the planting advice, because there’s a right place for every tree.”
With Georgia recognizing Arbor Day on the third Friday in February, Bartow County Extension Coordinator Paul Pugliese said it coincides with the area’s preferred tree planting time.
“February actually is a great time to plant trees, especially dormant bare root type trees and really and truly anything that’s sold as a bare root plant should always be planted while it’s still dormant,” Pugliese said. “So really you have a little bit of a window between December and the end of February as far as planting. ... But once they start to leaf out or green up, it’s really too late to start moving or transporting those types of bare root plants.
“... Our trees this year are a little bit different. We selected a unique oak species this year. It’s the Georgia oak. It’s not the state tree of Georgia interestingly enough but it is native to Georgia and unique to Georgia in the fact that it is considered an endangered variety. It’s only found in very limited areas in Georgia, specifically around Stone Mountain and a couple of those areas that are near Stone Mountain that have the granite outcroppings,” he said, adding the Georgia oak and red maple are both medium-size trees that need to be planted at least 15 feet from a house’s foundation.
Along with helping distribute the seedlings, Master Gardeners also will share gardening advice with the public, such as how deep to plant a sapling.
“Master Gardeners will be there on hand to answer any questions people might have as far as planting new trees or anything garden related for that matter,” Pugliese said. “... We will be providing some basic brochures and handouts with the trees that talks about how to plant the trees properly. The most important thing with a bare root plant is to keep it moist. Especially if you’re not going to be able to plant it for a couple of days, you need to try to maintain moisture on those roots so they don’t dry out. That’s more of a concern with a bare root plant than it would be with a containerized plant.
“[So] the sooner you can get it in the ground the better and just like any other plant, whether it’s containerized, balled and burlapped, or bare root, the key is not to plant them too deep. Sometimes it’s easier to do that unfortunately as far as planting them too deep when you’re dealing with bare root plants because a lot of times you don’t have a soil level or anything to go by as far as how deep to put it. But really what you go by is at the bottom of the stem where it kind of flares out — you have the root flare at the base of the stem of a tree — that needs to be slightly above grade when you finish planting it. That’s really the key with planting these.”
For more information about Bartow’s Arbor Day celebration, call Phillips at 770-383-7399.