Why West Virginians should plant trees
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin
When you think of your responsibilities as a citizen, planting trees probably is not on the list, but it should be. Look around our beautiful state, this spring you'll see an abundance of leaves beginning to bud. While we are blessed to have so many trees, we each can play a role in sustaining our beautiful forests for future generations. The easiest way to do that is to plant more trees.
The best species to plant are those native to West Virginia, such as the ones available at Clements State Tree Nursery. The nursery grows hardwood seedlings, including several species of oak, hickory and walnut, as well as sugar maple, West Virginia's state tree. The staff at the nursery also raises evergreens like white, Scotch and red pine, Norway spruce and Douglas fir. Because these seedlings are grown in West Virginia, you can be assured that they are suitable for planting on your property.
According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, over the course of 50 years, a single tree can generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycle $37,500 worth of water and control $31,500 worth of soil erosion. Multiply those numbers by thousands and you can see how planting trees makes both economic and environmental sense for West Virginia.
The Mountain State's forests are composed mainly of hardwood species. This means that not only are the trees valuable when they are growing in the forest, but they also are economically valuable when harvested. Once they are harvested, hardwood species can regenerate, growing new trees from the roots and stumps left in the forest. So if this is the case, why plant trees?
Several good reasons come to mind. Trees are beautiful and enhance the scenery. They provide homes and food for wildlife. In fact, you can create your own wildlife viewing area to feed deer, birds, squirrels and other animals right in your own backyard. In addition, those trees can provide colorful fall foliage every autumn.
Someone once said "fences make good neighbors". Trees make a great, natural, living barrier along your property. A line of trees will impede high winds and keep them from carrying away loose soil. At the same time, this line can provide shelter to your home and outbuildings from wind damage.
Of course, as we look forward to the summer months, trees provide much needed shade to humans, pets and wildlife, and help cut cooling costs. Trees are especially important in urban areas where excessive heat builds up from paved surfaces and glass-reflected sunlight.
There are also many celebratory reasons to plant trees. Plant a tree to commemorate a baby's birth, an anniversary or any special occasion. I encourage you to give the gift that can't be found in any store; plant a West Virginia-grown tree.
For a catalog of West Virginia-grown seedlings, visit www.wvcommerce.org/ClementsNursery, or call Clements State Tree Nursery directly at 304.675.1820.
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