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Saturday tree give away in Troy, Brundidge

When the beauty of a rare snowfall in Pike County turned to slush, residents began to think spring. After all, Alabama is the sunny south and it’s time for the coming of the daffodils.

And, almost as quickly, comes the time to turn the soil so, through its Arbor Week Celebration Tree Give Away, the Alabama Forestry Commission is encouraging all Alabamians to plant trees during Arbor Week, Feb. 21-27.

Tree Give Away times and locations are 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, Feb. 20 on the square in downtown Troy and at the Watson Fire Station in Brundidge.

Charles Rawls, Pike County forester, said 3,500 seedlings of various kinds will be divided between the two give away locations.

“The trees will be given free of charge but the quantities are limited so we’ll give one or two of each species per person,” Rawls said. “Toward the end of the give away if there is a lot of one species, we will be more generous with those. But, we want everybody who wants trees to get them.”

The species available at the Arbor Week Celebration Tree Give Away are willow oak, water oak, nuttall oak, sawtooth oak, Shumard oak, river birch, Chinese dogwood, crepe myrtle, persimmon, beauty berry, red maple, Japanese maple and Zelkova.

Rawls said some of the trees are ornamental and others will benefit wildlife.

The ornamental trees include the Chinese dogwood, crepe myrtle, Japanese maple, red maple and Zelkova. The other trees provide food and habitat for wildlife.

“We’ll have information about each of the trees at both give away locations to help in deciding which trees will work best for each person’s landscape and purpose,” Rawls said. “There will also be information available about how to plant the trees and what to expect from them.”

An added resource will be information for homeowners about how to protect their homes from wildfires.

Information about how to create defensive space between urban areas and grasslands and woodlands is invaluable to those who live in areas where home and “country” meet.

Other information of interest to property owners will also be available.

“Cogongrass is starting to creep into our area and it’s an invasive grass that could invade our forest and change the ecosystems,” Rawls said. “So, this information is valuable to all landowners.”

The Arbor Week Celebration Tree Give Away offers something special for the kids on Saturday.

Smokey Bear will be at the Troy location from 9:15 until 9:45 a.m. and at the Brundidge location from 10 until 10:30 a.m.

The public is encouraged to come out and pick out free trees and then go home and plant them in celebration of Arbor Week.

The Tree Give Away is sponsored by the Alabama Forestry Commission, Alabama Treasure Forest Association Pike County Chapter, Pike County Chamber of Commerce, City of Troy and City of Brundidge.