29 April 2012

Arbor Day Tree Plantings at Omaha Parks

During the period around Arbor Day, tree plantings occurred at three different Omaha parks.

The most diverse planting was a neighborhood-driven effort to place berry trees along Happy Hollow Creek.

Wild plum, elderberry, paw-paw are planted closer to the creek, said Sarah Newman who is responsible for the effort. Nearer to the sidewalk are blackberry, raspberry and currants.

Planting started on April 26 with the plum trees on the west side of the plot, and once the rest of the ground was properly tilled (after two attempts), additional planting continued into the weekend.

Money for the trees and tilling came from a $1100 grant from the City of Omaha, Newman said. The city will also provide mulch. A portion of the funds will be used to provide fruit picking tools and baskets for people in the Dundee area to pick fruit at their own trees. The equipment will be kept at the Dundee Community Garden.

The fruit from these trees can be "freely picked," Newman said. The berries will also be available for local birds and other wildlife to feed upon.

An Arbor Day event was held at Fontenelle Park on Friday, the 27th. Five flowering crabs and two oak trees were planted during an event hosted by Omaha mayor, Jim Suttle.

Suttle read a proclamation, and then with a bunch of children from Holy Name Elementary School, threw dirt around the already placed crab trees, and dug a hole for one of the oaks. Acting director, Brook Bench, assisted, as did other employees of the Omaha Parks Recreation and Public Property department.

More than 200 trees, especially Scotch pine which died due to disease, have been removed from the park in the past five years, said John Wynn, city forester.

A new tree nursery was established the weekend of April 21 on the north side of Levi Carter Park. About 130 trees, bought for $35 each, were planted, said Wynn. The trees included yellow-wood, linden, locust, catalpa, spruce, gingko and oaks.

Students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha helped with the planting done Friday.

The trees will be ready to transplant in two-three years, Wynn said. This nursery was created to provide a better-located site — with a reduction in travel while planting trees at east Omaha parks — rather than relying upon the nursery presently at Tranquility Park, in the western part of the city.