City celebrates Arbor Day, 22nd year as a Tree City USA

The City of Darlington has been named a 2020 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. Darlington achieved Tree City USA recognition for the 22nd consecutive year by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. “Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community firsthand,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The trees being planted and cared for by Darlington are ensuring that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, participation in this program brings residents together and creates a sense of civic pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.” In 2020, the city planted 18 trees, replanted more than 30 at the new sports complex property, and pruned more than 100 trees. Palmetto Pride awarded the city the 18 trees planted three maple trees, three tulip trees, and 12 crepe myrtle trees along Orange Street and Wells Street through its annual Tree Grant program. Additionally, the city added lantana and bricks to shore up the slope behind the tennis courts. “The choice of location adds to the streetscape entering the St. John’s Historic District as well as replaces some hazardous trees that have fallen or been removed in the last few years,” says Lisa Rock, City of Darlington director of economic development and planning. “Each year we apply for this award to encourage residents to plant and maintain trees and to continually build our urban tree canopy.” Staff also moved the arborvitae trees previously grown in the large ceramic pots around the Public Square to the new sports complex site on Harry Byrd Highway to begin the landscaping for that property. Based on the size of the trees, that move saved the city thousands of dollars. Under normal conditions, the City of Darlington Tree Board meets quarterly to discuss future plans for tree planting and mass removals. The Board has created plans for the replacement of Bradford pear trees on Cashua Street and plantings along the west side of South Main Street. For information about the board, email rock@cityofdarlington.com. Arbor Day in South Carolina is celebrated on the first Friday of December each year, as a good time for residents to consider adding to their landscape. If ever there was a time for trees, now is that time. Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, energy use, and protection from extreme heat and flooding. The Arbor Day Foundation recently launched the Time for Trees initiative to address these issues with the unprecedented goal of planting 100 million trees in forests and communities and inspiring 5 million tree planters by 2022. With Tree City USA recognition, Darlington has demonstrated a commitment to effective urban forest management and doing its part to help address these challenges for Darlington residents now and in the future. More information on the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCityUSA. The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. Find the foundation online at arborday.org. Individuals interested in having trees planted by the city in their yards can contact Lisa Rock at 843-398-4000 x 103 or email her at rock@cityofdarlington.com.

Author: Rachel Howell

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