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Jo. Co. Extension reports Tree Day success

Johnson County Extension Agent Billy Ward, right, is joined by Tori Ward, 4-H Agent Morgan Short, and Master Gardeners Jen Skarsaune last weekend while distributing trees on Tennessee Tree Day in Mountain City. The event has proved to be a great success benefiting all involved. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

“One of the simplest things we can do is plant trees,” said Johnson County Extension Agent Billy Ward, in a recent column encouraging area residents to take advantage of the upcoming Tennessee Tree Day.
Fast forward to last weekend, Ward and his crew of volunteers who set up in front of the Johnson County Extension Office were pleased to report the distribution of more than 700 trees to nearly 50 residents on Tree Day.
Since 2007, Tennessee residents have planted over 740,000 native trees.
“Some just walked up wondering what was going on, which allowed us to raise awareness of the event,” Ward said.
It was the second year extension that the extension served as a pick-up site and coordinator for Tree Day. The small crew of volunteers, including Tori Ward, 4-H Agent Morgan Short, Master Gardeners Jen Skarsaune, and Catherine Hornbeck, were pleased to report that the event doubled the number of participants and the number of trees from last year.
To encourage locals to plant and care for trees, Ward emphasized that trees native to the southeast included Nuttall Oak, Shagbark and Shell Bark Hickory, Wild Plum, Mulberry, Grey Dogwood Paw Paw, Pecan, and more. “These species not only make attractive ornamental additions to yards but support wildlife habitat and attract a variety of birds, butterflies, and native pollinators. Some also make good privacy fences,” he said.
As for caring for native trees and plants, Ward said, “They are adapted to our environmental conditions and require less water and care than non-adapted or imported trees and plants.
An added bonus is that these species don’t come with nasty surprises like Bradford Pears, which “not only stink (their blooms), but regularly break under snow load, and worse yet – their offspring the Callery pear is a troublesome invasive that costs time, money, and often herbicide to control.”
For more information about the Johnson County Extension Office 212 College St, Mountain City, TN, please visit them on Facebook or call (423) 727-8161.