Trees for the taking in Tuscaloosa and Jasper

Trees for the taking in Tuscaloosa and Jasper
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Tuscaloosa and Jasper residents can get a start on spring planting with upcoming annual tree giveaways.

In Tuscaloosa, the event will take place Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Tuscaloosa River Market. The city of Tuscaloosa, in partnership with the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) and the Alabama Forestry Commission, will be giving away 5,000 bare root seedlings.

The Jasper giveaway, with 1,200 seedlings, will take place Monday, Feb 26, at Alabama Power’s local business office.

Both giveaways will begin at 8 a.m. and seedlings will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

“Historically, this has been a very popular event in these communities and the trees go fast, so the additional manpower that APSO provides assists vegetation management in getting the trees to our customers,” said Adam Tipps, western division APSO president. According to Ashley Chambers, the City of Tuscaloosa’s environmental education and outreach coordinator, they “expect to run out of trees within 2-3 hours.”

At both events, there will be a selection of seedlings that include: red maple, crape myrtle, dahoon holly, live oak, swamp chestnut oak, sawtooth oak, bald cypress, redbud, nuttall oak and overcup oak. “This variety provides a mix of low growing species, as well as species that will become mature canopy trees,” said Jeffrey Poston, APC utility arborist supervisor. “We will provide information about each tree species and provide guidance on planting.”

“Trees are vital to the health and beauty of Tuscaloosa, and educating citizens on how and where to plant trees is just as important,” Chambers said. For example, “some ornamental trees only grow as tall as 10-15 feet, and can be planted next to your front porch or driveway without any issues, but many hardwoods can be as tall as 60 feet. We want to make sure no one plants a 60-foot tree three feet from their front door.”

“Planting the right tree in the right place is key,” Poston said. “We want to partner with customers and communities to make the right decisions about what trees to plant and where to plant them to ensure attractive landscapes, while we safely deliver power to their homes, schools and communities.”

This year, Tuscaloosa will celebrate 25 years and Jasper will celebrate 27 years as Tree City USA communities. They have earned and maintained this status by meeting the program’s four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

Alabama Power helps support these communities and the rest of the state as a TreeLine USA certified utility that implements the best practices in public and private utility arboriculture, outlined by The Arbor Day Foundation and National Association of State Foresters.

“We are so thankful to community partners like Alabama Power and the Alabama Forestry Commission for all they do to support the proper placement and healthy growth of trees in Tuscaloosa County,” Chambers said.

“Both events are very popular with the citizens of Tuscaloosa and Jasper,” Poston said, who anticipates that there may be lines and no trees leftover. Therefore, those who are interested in picking up a new tree this year, should plan to arrive early.

Saturday, Feb. 24
Tuscaloosa River Market
1900 Jack Warner Parkway, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
8 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Monday, Feb. 26
Alabama Power Jasper Business Office
11 18th Street East Jasper, AL 35501.
Giveaway begins at 8 a.m.

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