Get your shovels and your gloves!
Arbor Day in Coronado is coming up on Saturday, March 17.
Arbor Day originated in Nebraska on April 10, 1872 as a tree-planting holiday. It is estimated that more than a million trees were planted across Nebraska on that day. One hundred years later, in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation was established and President Nixon declared National Arbor Day to be the last Friday in April. However, many locations, including Coronado, celebrate on a different day largely because the climates in different locations support different planting dates for trees.
In Coronado, the holiday is sponsored by the Street Tree Committee and requires 100-150 volunteers each year. According to Tom DeCaro, a member of Coronado’s Street Tree Committee, volunteers should come to Spreckels Park at 8:30 am on March 17 with gloves and tree planting shoes. Tools will be provided by the city as will refreshments and instruction. If you can’t get there by 8:30, DeCaro says to just try to be there by 9 because that is when the tree planting demonstration will begin and locations will be assigned.
The intent of the Street Tree Committee is to plant somewhere between 25 to 35 new trees on the parkways in front of houses (the area between the sidewalk and the curb) and in other public spaces. The trees are free to homeowners who request one. The one requirement is that anyone wanting to receive a tree has to first meet with Art Valdivia, the Parks and Beaches Supervisor for the City of Coronado. Valdivia likes to come inspect the location to make sure that a tree is suitable, check out what other trees seem to be growing well on the street, and ensure that the homeowner will, indeed, be willing and able to provide the sapling with the loving care it will need to grow into a strong shade-providing tree.
Valdivia says that the best trees for Coronado, in general, are larger canopy trees – those that can provide a nice shaded walkway for those who like to stroll our sidewalks. Valdivia says there are lots to choose from, but one favorite of his is the African Sumac. He says it is a fast grower and is always lush. Another tree often seen around town is the Hong Kong Orchid. It is a pretty, flowering tree with incredibly fragrant blossoms. Valdivia says it is a wonderful tree, but it requires a fair bit of tender loving care until it gets established.
Some trees that are restricted include palms because, as Valdivia explains, “They don’t provide shade; they don’t have that cooling factor.”
The City of Coronado has a list of approved trees for parkways that can be found on the Street Tree Committee page on the city website.
If you missed the opportunity to request your free sapling this year, or if you prefer a larger tree, you can always refer to the approved list and contact the city. Larger trees can sometimes be planted in the parkway by city staff or by a contractor with a City Tree Planting Permit.
Meanwhile, gather your friends and family and head to Spreckels Park on March 17 to participate in this fun and environment-loving activity!