Arbor Day is Friday, April 26!

April 18, 2024

A 3rd Place winner in the 2024 Arizona Arbor Day Contest.

Friday, April 26th is Arbor Day, a special day set aside to encourage the planting and proper care of trees.  It has been 152 years since J. Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day. His simple idea of setting aside a special day for tree planting is now more important than ever. The 1st official Arbor Day was created by Morton and celebrated in Nebraska in 1872. In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton’s idea spread beyond Nebraska and today all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day.

Trees Are Superheroes

These superheroes of nature cool our environment, they help clean our air by absorbing carbon dioxide while also producing oxygen, and they provide habitat for wildlife. They help us save air conditioning costs in summer when properly placed around buildings to provide summer shade, but will also reduce heating costs when placed strategically around properties as a windbreak. During rain events trees also intercept and filter our water, and help to slow stormwater surges and flooding. As if that wasn’t enough, let us share one more fun fact… trees have been proven to reduce stress, and improve overall health of us humans – have you heard of forest bathing?

Here are just a few more fun facts about trees:

1. A well-placed tree can reduce energy use in your home up to 40 percent.

Did you know that the electrical power industry is one of the greatest consumers of water for cooling and other processes? This means that saving energy ultimately saves water. Find some great design and tree placement tips in the Water – Use It Wisely design section.

2. Up to 70 percent of water use is outdoors.

That’s why watering your yard efficiently is one of the best and easiest ways to save water. However, there are so many trees available that are beautiful, functional and low-water using. Check out the plant selection guide on our site for low-water-use trees, shrubs and more. You can also search for trees, shrubs, ground covers, succulents, and more in this free online plant guide, Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert from AMWUA.

Shade Tree in front of home
Trees can lower temperatures


3. Plants don’t save water, people do!

Okay, so trees can’t provide every benefit. We know they help clean pollutants from the air, replace CO2 with oxygen, reduce water pollution and provide great habitat for wildlife. However, to really save water, they have to be watered properly by you. Water – Use It Wisely has a simple guide to help keep your plants healthy and beautiful while saving thousands of gallons of water a year in your landscape. Just check out our Landscape Watering by the Numbers: A Guide for the Arizona Desert.

Classes & Resources to Learn How to Plant a Tree or Take Care of Your Existing Trees

Our Water – Use It Wisely partners are offering tree selection, tree planting, and tree care classes. Check out:

Online, be sure to visit our Planting Trees and Shrubs guidelines for the latest University of Arizona planting recommendations for best success. Or, get more Arbor Day inspiration with a fun video from Arizona Nursery Association.

Happy Planting!

If you are looking for more information about choosing, planting, and caring for your trees, be sure to check out our past blogs:

Donna DiFrancesco is a horticulturist (and tree hugger) and Conservation Coordinator with the City of Mesa, AZ, one of nineteen Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.