Arbor Day is a celebration of trees and a holiday where individuals and larger groups are encouraged to plant trees. Trees clean the air and our water. They help slow climate change. Trees ease poverty and hunger, and they feed the human soul. But in the wake of global deforestation, trees getting cut down for local developments and trees lost in natural disasters, Arbor Day is especially important this year.
We love just about all trees… but most Texans are partial to the pecan tree.
The State Tree of Texas
As you probably already know, the state tree of Texas is the pecan tree. It’s the nation’s most important commercial nut producer (although side note: Texas is the second largest peanut growing state in the nation, but peanuts are not nuts — they are legumes, like beans, peas and lentils). Pecan trees provide great shade, and the wood is highly prized for furniture and flooring.
The pecan grows to a height of 70–100′ with a mature spread of 40–75′, growing at a medium rate of 13–24″ per year. They grow in an oval shape and have a lifespan of 300+ years. Pecan trees also develop a deep taproot, making them difficult to transplant. The trees prefer full son at least six hours per day, and it grows well in a variety of soil types. Pecan trees begin to bear nuts after 6–10 years and produce an average of 70–150 pounds of pecans per year. Obviously, a lot of people love to eat pecans, but they are also favored by deer, squirrels, raccoons, foxes, turkeys, ducks and other birds.
As we celebrate the pecan tree — and all other trees — this Arbor Day, consider where you can make the biggest impact in planting new trees.
Hurricane Harvey Recovery
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Texas endured $125 billion in damage per the National Hurricane Center. That’s more than any other natural disaster in U.S history except Hurricane Katrina. Harvey destroyed or damaged more than 200,000 homes last year. Plus, Hurricane Irma displaced more than 200,000 Floridians and Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, leaving a majority of their population without power and an enormous death toll.
As the affected communities continue to rebuild and start anew, the Arbor Day Foundation has committed to supplying 5 million trees to the tree recovery efforts in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. They will work with local forestry partners in impacted areas to assess the best time to replant trees and also help distribute the trees to affected homeowners. You can help by donating trees to these efforts.