Friday is the 143rd anniversary of Arbor Day, started all those years ago by journalist J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska.

Through his articles and editorials, Morton urged people to plant trees for beauty and shade, for fuel and building materials, and for windbreaks to halt blowing soil.

Some types of trees supply us with edible fruits and nuts, others with showy flowers. They all moderate our climate, provide dwelling places for wildlife, conserve our water, clean our air, cool our streets and homes, and make our neighborhoods more livable. Of perhaps even greater importance, trees take in and use carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas, for their own growth and development.

Each year, the last Friday in April (today) is officially recognized as National Arbor Day, a special day set aside for people to learn about trees and to plant trees.

What to plant? If you live in the southern or central part of the state, I’d suggest native bur oak, sugar maple, basswood, hackberry, tamarack, white cedar and red pine. Also, consider non-native crabapples, plus apple trees and other fruit trees developed by or recommended by the University of Minnesota.

A trip to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum near Chanhassen will give interested tree planters many good ideas.


Jim Gilbert’s Nature Notes are heard on WCCO Radio at 7:15 a.m. Sundays. His observations have been part of the Minnesota Weatherguide Environment Calendars since 1977, and he is the author of five books on nature in Minnesota. He taught and worked as a naturalist for 50 years.