City Trees

July/August 2013

City Trees is a premier publication focused on urban + community forestry. In each issue, you’ll learn how to best manage the trees in your community and more!

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Page 21 of 39

Partners Updates State Coordinators Celebrating Trees in North Dakota Story and photos by Gerri Makay, Community Forestry Program Manager, North Dakota Forest Service After the longest winter in recent memory, the landscape is finally green in North Dakota. The official State Arbor Day here is the first Friday in May, one of the country's latest. This year, even that date was too snowy and cold to plant a tree. To assure that tree planting in North Dakota does not qualify as an extreme sport, our communities have learned to plan their Arbor Day celebrations as late in spring as feasible. In each of these towns, Arbor Day is a unique celebration. We've been witness and accomplice to kids wielding shovels, grant projects being implemented, community leaders being recognized, and loved ones being memorialized. Trees and their powerful symbolism of hope are an integral part of all of these celebrations. North Dakota is home to one Tree Line USA, one Tree Campus USA, and fifty Tree City USA communities, including the thirteen largest communities in the state, and many very small communities—some with less than 100 residents. Proudly, North Dakota is once again home to the very smallest Tree City USA (Sibley, Population: 26). Bismarck, North Dakota, seen here from the observation deck of the State Capital building, has an exemplary city forestry program. These accomplishments are extra meaningful, because it's not easy being a tree in North Dakota. A typical year presents temperature extremes of -30 degrees F (-34.4 C) to nearly 100 degrees F (37.8 C). 2011 was an unusually wet year, including historic, long-term flooding into the growing season. This was followed by record high temperatures and dry conditions in 2012. Now, 2013 is already setting records as the wettest spring in decades. If the temperatures aren't enough, alkaline soils present challenges as well. North Dakota excels at producing a diverse range of abundant annual crops in these soils, but for trees, the high pH is more challenging. North Dakota is the least forested state, with only one of every 100 acres naturally forested. Forests and other woody vegetation are generally confined to moist riparian sites along lakes, streams, and rivers. When the early settlers came to North Dakota, trees were so scarce on the prairies that homes were constructed from sod and heated with buffalo chips. The lack of trees for housing, fuel, fencing, and protection against the harsh environment quickly motivated the home- 22 Two ND military communities have Tree City USA certification. Here, a commander plants a tree on Arbor Day with kids from his community. City Trees

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