The city of Litchfield Park’s Public Works crew, along with representatives from West Coast Arborists and students from the Litchfield Park Preschool, observed Arbor Day 2021 by planting a tree Friday, April 30.
West Coast Arborists is the city’s tree maintenance company.
The 36-inch Chinese pistache tree was planted near Serrano and Desert Avenue, just south of the Litchfield Park Recreation Center pool.
In addition to involving the students in the planting, West Coast Arborists discussed with them why trees are important to communities like Litchfield Park.
According to a post on the preschool’s Facebook page, the students were so excited that they got to help plant the tree, they gave it a name: “Gerald the Sparkling Tree.”
Gerald may just live up to the name as it takes root. Chinese pistache trees are known for lustrous, dark green leaves that turn bright orange and red in the fall, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.
The trees like full sun and do well in the heat, growing at a rate of 13 to 24 inches per year. At full maturity, they stand 25 to 35 feet tall, with a 25- to 35-foot spread that provides plenty of shade as well as critical habitat for birds and insects.
Last year, the city planted a Chinese elm at Camelback Park for Arbor Day. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a small group from the city and the Glendale-based company participated.
Arbor Day, now held the last Friday in April, was founded in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton, a Nebraska City, Nebraska, newspaper editor and nature lover who served as President Grover Cleveland’s secretary of agriculture from 1893-97.
On April 30, communities across the country joined the Arbor Day Foundation in carrying on Mr. Morton’s mission of promoting the value of trees by issuing proclamations and planting.
For more information about Arbor Day, the foundation and the importance of trees, visit arborday.org.