Drive-through tree giveaway a local Arbor Day tradition

Steve Cushman loads trees at a previous Arbor Day tree giveaway in Crawfordville.

To celebrate Florida Arbor Day, a drive-through tree giveaway is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, outside the Wakulla County Extension Office at 84 Cedar Ave. Each vehicle will receive two young trees in pots free of charge.

Organizers of the 19th annual Crawfordville Arbor Day celebration hope to find homes for more than 1,000 native trees. Trees to be offered are: arrowwood viburnum, chinquapin, dahoon holly, hop tree, overcup oak, parsley haw, red cedar, red maple, sand live oak, sweet bay magnolia, and yellow poplar. All are suited to Wakulla County.

The Florida Forest Service is providing red cedars and sweet bay magnolias. Other trees were purchased as bare-root saplings with funds from the National Wildlife Federation’s Trees for Wildlife program. Members of the Wakulla County Garden Club and the Sarracenia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society planted the bare-root trees into 1-gallon pots last winter and Just Fruits & Exotics Nursery watered them for a year.

To get two free trees, drive north on Ochlockonee Street from Arran Road (at the county courthouse) to get in line. After passing Hudson Park, turn left onto Cedar Avenue. Each vehicle will receive an order form, tree information, and an educational packet. Complete the order form and exchange it for two tree tickets at the ticket station. Continue around the circle drive to the tree stations. Turn in tickets at matching stations and trees will be loaded into your vehicle. Vehicle occupants are asked to bring a pen or pencil and stay in their vehicles.

Master gardeners and other experts will be on site to help people choose trees. Be prepared to choose alternatives to your preferred trees as some species run out quickly.

Small quantities of different trees will be offered at a 12th station after most other trees have run out. For information or to volunteer, contact Lynn Artz (lynn_artz@hotmail.com; 850-320-2158).

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