Here’s why Houston’s Arbor Day was last Saturday


I love the way the tree in the above cover shot is taking a bow, or politely moving so we can see the rainbow? Trees are worth celebrating and you may have been thrown a bit when Houston’s Arbor Day happened this past weekend! After all, most of the country has their tree-planting Arbor Days in late April--the very first one was in Nebraska on April 10, 1872.

Texas, naturally, has to be a little different, and so we have our state’s Arbor Day on the first Friday in November! Here’s a nice explanation from the Dallas Morning News, but, generally, planting trees in Texas in the fall brings a nice payoff in the summer. One of the more memorable Arbor Days happened in 2012 when we planted 25,000 trees to help replace the half a million trees the state lost during the 2011 Drought.

RELATED: Volunteers plant 25,000 trees

We learned then not to take trees for granted when so many disappeared in one summer. While trees are beautiful and provide so much, from paper and wood to fruits and shade, they also play an integral part in our environment. That gift of shade can be more than you know: Producer Debbie Strauss and I put together a story about just how much hotter our local neighborhoods are without trees--an easy 17° difference. And that is a huge difference in the middle of August!

RELATED: A look at Houston’ Hottest Neighborhoods

In addition to their cooling effect, trees remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere giving back clean oxygen. This translates to huge gains for the United States AND Houston:

Credit: Climate Central
Credit: Climate Central

So why was Houston’s Arbor Day last Saturday? Pretty simple: now is the time to plant to get those trees ready for our hot, dry summer! And our city has been named Tree City USA for the 38th consecutive year, so we must be doing something right! The city has a FREE Tree Planting Guide. The U.S. Forest Service has a wonderful website where you and your family can explore so much more about the importance of trees. So don’t take those trees for granted. Joyce Kilmer never did:

TREES (1913) by Joyce Kilmer ”I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; a tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray; a tree that may in Summer wear a nest of robins in her hair; upon whose bosom snow has lain; who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”

Happy belated Arbor Day! Or happy early Arbor Day! Or happy super early Arbor Day!


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About the Author:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.