Arbor Day is all about planting trees. Around the world there are many public holidays on which trees are planted. The dates and specifics of these different tree planting holidays vary depending on the geographical location and climate zone. When people refer to Arbor Day, however, they are most frequently referring to the US Arbor Day. So let's look at the American Arbor Day in a little more depth.
When is National Arbor Day 2022?
The national holiday of Arbor Day is on the last Friday of April each year. This year, it will be on the 29th of April.
Arbor Day 2022 – Friday April 29th
Arbor Day 2023 – Friday April 28th
Arbor Day 2024 – Friday April 26th
However, while this is the national date, different states celebrate Arbor Day on different dates, which coincide better with the best time for tree planting in the local area. For example, in Alaska, Arbor Day is celebrated on the third Monday in May, and in Hawaii, it is celebrated on the first Friday of November. You can find out when your state celebrated Arbor Day here.
The Origins of Arbor Day
Tree planting for Arbor Day is a long-lasting tradition.
Arbor Day was he brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton, a tree-lover from Nebraska. He inaugurated the tradition in Nebraska City, on April 10th 1872. It has been estimated that nearly 1 million trees were planted on this day.
By 1885, Arbor Day had become a legal holiday in Nebraska (It was held on the 22nd April, a date chosen to honor Morton, as this was his birthday). By the 1920s, all US states had passed laws which stipulated that a certain day each year would be marked as Arbor Day.
One interesting thing to note is that Arbor Day was almost named Sylvan Day –a name favoured by several on the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture. But sylvan refers only to forest trees, and Morton was adamant that the name Arbor should be used, since it refers to both forest trees and cultivated fruit trees too.
Birdsey Northrop from Connecticut was responsible for globalizing the idea of Arbor Day when he visited Japan in 1883. There, he delivered a well-received Arbor Day and Village Improvement message. Also in 1883, the American Forestry Association declared Northrop the Chairman of the committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide. He was pivotal in this movement and also helped to spread this idea around the world, to Canada, Australia, and European nations.
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The Arbor Day Foundation
The Arbor Day Foundation was created 100 years after the first Arbor Day in 1972. It is a non-profit membership organisation and a great source of information for those looking to learn more about choosing, planting and caring for trees.
They have comprehensive guides about tree species, selection, planting and care for your climate zone and conditions, and manage Arbor Day Farm, an educational centre at the birthplace of Arbor Day, with 260 acres of land, including a sustainable hotel and meeting centre, a nature themed attraction called 'Tree Adventure', and the Arbor Lodge State Historical Park.
Today, they have more than 1 million members and have planted over 350 million trees around the world. They aim to inspire everyone to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.
In 2018, the Arbor Day Foundation launched an initiative called 'Time for Trees'. The goal is to plant 100 million trees around the world, and to engage 5 million tree planters by the 50th Anniversary of the Foundation in 2022.
In 2019, Youtube creators Mark Rober and MrBeast joined with the Arbor Day Foundation to raise $20 million to plant 20 million trees. They crowdfunded $20 million in 56 days and had planted 20 million trees by December 19th 2019. As of the end of June 2021, Team Trees has raised $23 million, with notable donors like Elon Musk and Tobias Lutke each swelling the fund by each contributing over a million dollars
Tree Planting on Arbor Day
Planting a fruit tree in your garden could be one great way to celebrate Arbor Day.
Planting a tree in your own community or your own backyard is a great way to celebrate Arbor Day, wherever you live. You might plant a tree in memory of a loved one, or to provide specific benefits to you and your family. Remember, trees can provide a range of beneficial services, from providing shade, to giving fruit or nuts for you to eat. These things are all in addition to sequestering carbon, protecting and enhancing the soil, and bringing a huge range of other benefits, both locally and globally.
Remember, you do not have to wait until Arbor Day to plant trees. In many regions and climate zones, bare root trees can be planted out in fall or early spring, and pot grown trees can be planted out in spring once the weather has warmed. As the old saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today. Even if you don't have space to plant your own tree, remember that you can have trees planted for you with TreeClicks.