Carrington Research Extension Center


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May Is Arbor Month in North Dakota


Arbor Day celebrations began more than 140 years ago. 

In 1872, J. Sterling Morton proposed “to set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit.”  As the editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper, Morton spread his enthusiasm for trees to a receptive audience – more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on that first Arbor Day.

The Lions Club of New Rockford completed a tree planting project in the park in 2012.

The tradition has spread, and all fifty states have an official State Arbor Day.  In North Dakota, it’s the first Friday in May.  In fact, the entire month of May is designated as Arbor Month.  But don’t let a calendar dictate when you plant a tree!  A containerized tree from a nursery can be planted anytime during the growing season – just be sure to plant it correctly, give it plenty of space to grow to mature size, and water every week or so for the first year of establishment.  Diversity is the best defense against invasive pests like Emerald Ash borer, which targets all species of ash.  Recent street tree inventories conducted by the ND Forest Service reveal that over 40% of our street trees are ash.  It’s time to plant something different.  Go out on a limb and plant a Prairie Expedition American elm, Prairie Torch buckeye, or Northern Acclaim honeylocust – just a few of the introductions released through NDSU’s Woody Plant Improvement Program.


North Dakota is home to 48 Tree City USA communities. Holding an annual Arbor Day celebration is one of the 
requirements for achieving and maintaining status as a Tree City USA. 
The 20-yr flag is held by Dickinson city forestry department - 2013.

Happy Arbor Month!

Gerri Makay
Forestry Program Manager
ND Forest Service
Gerri's office is located at the CREC.

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