Carthage to celebrate Arbor Day on tax day

John Hacker

Missouri Arbor Day is the beginning of April, and national Arbor Day is the end of April, so Carthage is splitting the difference and planting trees April 15.

"I'm calling it our Arbor Day tax party," said Allen Bull, Carthage Parks and Recreation Director. "I'll probably be crying at the end of it, but it'll be fun."

Bull said the local Arbor Day ceremony will be at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 15, at Central Park.

He said the city will plant a tree or two in an area of the park between the wading pool and the playground where an old oak, that was hit by lightning last year, used to stand.

"We left it up for a while thinking it would heal, but it crashed," Bull said. "It was a great big oak and we never planted any other trees in the area because we didn't need any. Now there is a big bare spot in the park."

The past 12 months have been particularly tough on Carthage trees, and those icons of the city have been getting an unusual amount of attention.

Between the ice storms of January and December 2007, the Easter Freeze of 2007, and the flooding and torrential rains we've seen last summer and in the past few days, trees are particularly vulnerable to pests and illness.

Bull said the city had to take down at least 60 of the city's grandest maples, oaks and other species as a result of the December 2007 ice storm.

Bull said as part of the ceremony, Jon Skinner, urban forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation, will speak on what kinds of trees to plant and how to plant them in the wake of these storms.

In addition, the city is spending $16,000, much of it provided in a state grant, to pay the firm of Skip Kincaid and Associates, urban foresters, to conduct an inventory of trees and their conditions in the city's parks.

"I wish we could inventory the trees in the city right of way, but that would be expensive," Bull said. "This survey will give us a map of every tree in our parks, its condition, and GPS map coordinates. We'll be able to tell where the bad trees are, where we'll have to cut down trees in the next five years and where we'll need to plant trees."

Carthage Press