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The History of Arbor Day And How You Can Celebrate

By Stein Tree
Posted on April 20, 2020

At a time when more of us are appreciating the beauty of the trees and our landscape, we would like to examine the history of Arbor Day. Celebrated this year on April 24, 2020, Arbor Day is a national holiday where people all across the country celebrate the role of trees in our world. As a tree care service company, we are passionate about tree care and promote the observance of this holiday.

History of Arbor Day: The First Arbor Day

Hand holding a tree sapling | History of Arbor Day | Stein Tree Service

Arbor Day was first observed as a formal holiday in the United States in 1872 in Nebraska. While this was the first official observation of a tree-planting holiday in our country, many societies throughout all of human history held tree-planting festivals. The first Arbor Day originated from J. Sterling Morton. Morton and his wife, Caroline, moved from Detroit to Nebraska and had strong passions for trees, plants, and nature. At the time, Nebraska had few trees, with most of the state being plains. The Mortons planted various trees and shrubs and flowers at their new Nebraska home.

Morton was a journalist and became an editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper. He used his position and platform to spread agricultural information and enthusiasm for trees to a receptive audience. As Morton wrote and spoke about environmental stewardship, he encouraged residents to set aside a specific day for tree-planting. The Nebraska State Board of Agriculture accepted Morton’s proposal. The board offered prizes to those who planted the most trees on one specific day. As a result, Nebraskans planted more than one million trees on the first Arbor Day.

A New Holiday Takes Root

Shortly after the first observance, other states passed legislation to observe Arbor Day. By 1920, over 45 states and territorial possessions were celebrating the holiday. Today, all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day, and many other countries in the world have unique tree-planting holidays as well.

Arbor Day is unique compared to most holidays for one primary reason: while most holidays celebrate events that have already happened and are worth remembering, Arbor Day celebrates the future. The trees planted during Arbor Day highlight enthusiasm for the future of the planet.

How You Can Celebrate Arbor Day

Now that you know the history of Arbor Day, find a way to celebrate. The most typical way of celebrating Arbor Day is by planting trees with your community, but this year is a little different from most with social distancing practices in place. Many residents are already taking this time at home as a chance to beautify landscapes, planting trees, flowers and gardens. We encourage you to take actions too. In addition to planting trees, you could:

  • Take your family on a tree identification hike or drive.
  • Inspect your trees to ensure that they are healthy (if you see signs of decay or insects, contact your arborist).
  • Raise awareness of Arbor Day and encourage others to get involved in creative ways.

Contact Stein Tree Service for Tree Care Information and Services

Stein Tree Service’s experienced, certified team of arborists and tree care specialists are passionate about trees, and hope you found the history of Arbor Day interesting. We offer Pennsylvania and Delaware homeowners and businesses professional skilled tree care services. As part of safe distancing, we can conduct inspections or tree care services with no contact. For a free consultation, contact us today.




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