Plant a tree, add to urban forest
By Jayme Grzebik
The beautiful trees and shrubs planted in a city make up the urban forest, creating softer landscapes, shaded areas to stand, quieter places to sit and cooler areas in the middle of a hot parking lot.
Take time to look around when you are in the city; you'll notice in most places that the growth of the city has overcome the urban forest. Many places have added more parking lots, office buildings and other hard-scapes to meet our growing population than have added trees and shrubs.
Each year, Arbor Day in Hawai'i (officially the first Friday in November) reminds us to plant a tree. To encourage action, Hawaiian Electric Co. provides support for a free tree give-away. If you were one of the lucky ones who got a free tree or shrub this year, be sure to mälama it. To learn how to plant a tree from University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, visit www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/L-4.pdf.
Many nurseries in Hawai'i specialize in native trees and shrubs or small trees for the landscape. This is the best time in Hawai'i to plant a tree. So we encourage you to visit your local nursery to purchase a tree to plant for Arbor Day 2009 and add to your urban forest today.
To help people select a small tree, local experts Fred D. Rauch and Paul R. Weissich have written the book "Small Trees for the Tropical Landscape," published in July by UH Press. The authors not only address the dramatic changes in the U.S. city-scape and its negative impact on the urban forest, but they provide descriptions and illustrations on trees 30 feet or smaller, which are recommended to avoid disruption of power lines and ease maintenance. The authors also included several shrubs that can be pruned into small trees for the tropical landscape.
To meet Weissich and purchase this book, visit the UH Urban Garden Center in Pearl City today from 9 a.m. to noon. Visitors will also see a live ongoing demonstration on how to prune trees and shrubs. O'ahu Master Gardeners will also be answering gardening questions. For more information or for directions, see www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/ougc or call 453-6055.