Arbor Day Celebration encourages residents to care for trees

Newton Arbor Day Celebration challenges residents to care for trees

NEWTON, N.C. – Newton held its annual Arbor Day Celebration at the new Fire Department Headquarters on Friday, April 24.

Guest speaker Jeff Icard, assistant county ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service, recognized Newton for being a Tree City USA, a designation the city has held since 2011. He challenged Newton’s residents to continue taking pride in the city’s trees.

“If you care about the trees, join up and help take care of them,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Mary Bess Lawing proclaimed the day as Arbor Day in the city of Newton.

“Trees in our city increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas, and beatify our community,” she said. “Wherever they are planted, they are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.”

Three types of trees were planted at the Fire Department Headquarters to celebrate Arbor Day: smoketrees, Eastern redbuds and Carolina silverbells.

Smoketrees are native to the wooded hills of the Mediterranean. The trees were first introduced in North America during the 1650s. Unique filaments on the trees look like puffs of smoke.

Carolina silverbells produce blossoms with pinkish flowers and are native to North Carolina. A row of the trees planted along the southern edge of the Fire Department Headquarters property will grow 15 to 45 feet tall.

Eastern redbuds grow greenish-purple leaves and reddish-purple blooms. Two of the trees planted at the Fire Department Headquarters were planted as living memorials to Newton’s first paid fire chief, Simon “Tut” Burgess.

Tree Board Chairman Johnny Williams encouraged anyone interested in caring for Newton’s trees to attend a Tree Board meeting. The board meets every other month at the Newton Recreation Center on South Brady Avenue. The next meeting is at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 2.

If you would like to sponsor a tree as a living memorial to a loved one, call the Newton Parks and Recreation Department at 828-695-4317.