Mary Beth Stockdale, special events coordinator for the city, said the Arbor Day celebration has grown in the last few years as more residents have become interested in environmental issues. She points to the Greenstock festival and other events in the area as helping to spur interest among homeowners.
“I have been working on Arbor Day for six years, and we have grown from 200 to 800 seedlings to give away. The residents love it; they love the type of trees we give away and any way we can put more green into the community is important,” she said. “It is a lot of fun. We have the seniors help and bag and tag them. There is a tree care guide we give away and is on our website.”
Residents come from all over the city to get the free seedlings, and even from surrounding areas, she said.
Stockdale said the city has a strict tree ordinance to help preserve the trees or replant when they are removed.
Brian Stockton, the city planner for Woodstock, said that the tree ordinance is strict in requiring replanting by developers, and that he and the arborist the city uses work to make sure the city has adequate tree canopy.
“When someone develops a property, there are a lot of requirements to make sure the trees are replaced,” Stockton said. “It is all based on a mathematical equation to make sure we keep a certain level of tree canopy within the city. That includes parking lots. the trees. We want to make sure that when trees mature the parking lots have adequate shade.”
As for residents, the free seedlings are a good start in helping the city grow that shade.
The varieties of seedlings to be given away include dogwood, crape myrtle, and Georgia’s state tree, the live oak. The seedlings will come with a free booklet with important tree care information.
“This booklet includes information on caring for and planting trees, pruning existing trees, and current water restrictions. To ensure you get the type of seedling you prefer it is recommended you stop by to pick up your seedling earlier in the day. The more popular varieties tend to run out first,” Stockdale said.
The seedlings and tree care guides can be picked up this Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following locations:
* Woodstock’s Magnolia Hall (behind the Magnolia Thomas Restaurant)
108 Arnold Mill Rd.
* City Hall Annex
12453 Highway 92.
* The Woodstock Visitors Center at Dean’s Store
8588 Main Street
* Woodstock Senior Center
223 Arnold Mill Rd.
In addition to the give-away, the city celebrates Arbor Day by honoring city employees who have worked with the city for 20 years. A tree will be planted in their honor with a plaque and they also receive a plaque to keep.
This year three employees, Fire Dept. Capt. Jackie Byers; Jeff Dupree of the Public Works department; and Waste Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Larry Thomas will be honored.
For more information on the city of Woodstock’s Arbor Day tree seedling giveaway contact Woodstock Parks and Recreation at (770) 517-6788.