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Arbor Day


April 29, 2022, is National Arbor Day. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day, the tree planters’ holiday. Over that time hundreds of millions of trees have been planted at Arbor Day events and celebrations.

The team here at Mayer Tree Service is excited to celebrate this holiday with you! If you’d like to learn more about Arbor Day, its origin, its history, its evolution, and Arbor Day events check out our blog below.


Arbor Day began in 1872 in Nebraska. Arbor Day was the brainchild of J. Sterling Morton. Morton had an enthusiasm for trees and was an advocate for individuals and civic groups to plant trees.

J. Sterling Morton was one of the many Nebraskans who were saddened by the lack of trees in the Nebraska Territory. Not only did new Nebraska residents miss the beauty of the trees they knew back in their previous homes, but the lack of trees meant there was little to no windbreak to keep soil in place or to use for fuel, building materials, and shade.

Morton became the secretary of the Nebraska Territory when he was appointed by President Grover Cleveland. Morton used his position to further advocate for the value of trees. On January 4, 1872, Morton proposed the first proposed tree-planting holiday in the state to be called “Arbor Day” at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture.

The celebration of the first Arbor Day in Nebraska was set for April 10, 1872. It was estimated that more than 1 million trees were planted on that first Arbor Day.

In 1874, Nebraska Governor Robert W. Furnas officially proclaimed Arbor Day, and the holiday was observed on April 10th that year. In 1885, Arbor Day was named a legal state holiday in Nebraska. April 22 was selected as the date for its permanent annual observance.



Arbor Day grew quickly in the late 1800s. By 1882, the tree-planting tradition had become part of the curriculum in schools around the country. Schoolchildren learned about the importance of trees and got a tree to plant in their own yard.


In the early 1990s, more and more states passed legislation to observe Arbor Day. By 1920, more than 45 states and territories were celebrating Arbor Day with ceremonies and events. 

The founder of Arbor Day, J. Sterling Morris, passed away in 1902. In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt issued an Arbor Day Proclamation to American students:

“It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetimes the Nation’s need of trees will become serious. We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed…

“A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as hopeless; forests which are so used that they cannot renew themselves will soon vanish, and with them all their benefits. A true forest is not merely a storehouse full of wood, but, as it were, a factory of wood and at the same time a reservoir of water. When you help to preserve our forests or to plant new ones you are acting the part of good citizens. The value of forestry deserves, therefore, to be taught in the schools, which aim to make good citizens of you. If your Arbor Day exercises help you to realize what benefits each one of you receives from the forests, and how by your assistance these benefits may continue, they will serve a good end.”


Having been founded in Nebraska, Arbor Day remains a huge part of the state’s identity. Arbor Day is celebrated throughout the state.

Check a video about the history of Arbor Day and how it is celebrated in Nebraska below.


In 1970, Arbor Day had gained so much popularity around the country that President Richard Nixon named Arbor Day a National Holiday in the United States.


The best thing to do on Arbor Day is to celebrate with a tree planting event. Tree Planting was the original inspiration for Arbor Day so planting a tree… or several . Of course, planting trees isn’t an option for everyone. There are other ways to celebrate Arbor Day. 

Some other ways to celebrate Arbor Day include:

  • Hiking in nature
  • Participating in Forest Bathing by relaxing under a canopy of trees
  • Go on a tree-identifying walk
  • Go on a hunt for the largest and oldest trees in your neighborhood
  • Read a book about trees
  • Create a backyard that is wildlife-friendly
  • Think about ways to conserve trees in your home
  • Volunteer with a conservation charity
  • Upcycle dead tree


Arbor Day has expanded to be celebrated around the world carrying on local tree-planting traditions. Arbor Day has come to represent hope for the future around the world. This sets it apart from most holidays that are remembrances of the past.

The act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow and provide shade, air, water, wildlife habitats, healthy communities and natural beauty for a better tomorrow.


There are a number of ways to that you can celebrate Arbor Day on your own or by joining an event or celebration. You can find suggestions for ways to celebrate Arbor Day on the official Arbor Day Website here.

You can find a list of Arbor Day events around the country and the world by clicking here.


Each year, the Arbor Day Foundation honors six organizations and individuals who best represent the spirit of J. Sterling Morton. These individuals exemplify his principles of responsible planting and environmental practices. The Arbor Day Awards recognize international, national, state, and community-level conservation efforts.

To learn about the inspiring winners of the 2021 Arbor Day Awards and their conservation efforts watch the video below from the Arbor Day Foundation.

Arbor Day is an important day here at Mayer Tree Service. From our expert arborists to our tree crews and plant health care teams to our office staff, we all love trees, especially the trees here in New England.

Nothing makes us happier than planting small saplings and seeing them grow and thrive into big healthy trees. We are thankful to J. Sterling Morton and everyone who has been instrumental in the process of making Arbor Day into an important holiday and helping the world understand the importance of trees in our world.

If you have questions about tree service or plant health care or would like an estimate, give us a call at 978-768-6999 or click here to contact us.

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