Set for Friday, Feb. 10, in front of the Alcorn County Courthouse, the giveaway will begin at 8:30 a.m. and last until the trees are gone. They usually go quickly, and there may not be as many available as in some past years.
“It looks like this year we are only going to have pines again,” said MSU Extension Agent Patrick Poindexter. “There won’t be a lot, but we’ll have a few to give away.”
Representatives of the Mississippi Forestry Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Soil and Water Conservation District will also be on hand, as well as a 4H club that will help with distribution.
“We’ll be there during the tree giveaway to talk to folks about the proper way to plant and where to plant them,” said Poindexter. “These pines, you don’t want to plant them too close to your house or too close to power lines.”
Mississippi has observed Arbor Day since 1926 to recognize the importance of trees and forests.
“We are a pretty heavily forested county, not only in pine trees, but in hardwoods and other trees, as well,” said Poindexter. “They are important to the environment. We harvest a lot of trees, and this helps to replant. It also helps expose some folks who have maybe never planted a tree.”
According to the forestry commission, forestry contributes $12.79 billion annually to the state’s economy and more than $20 million toward education through School Trust Land timber sale revenue while employing almost 70,000 people.
A free Mississippi Trees phone app, designed to help identify common trees in the state, is available for iOS and Android phones. It is adapted from the “Mississippi Trees” handbook prepared by the MSU Department of Forestry.
Beginning with Arbor Day, the week of Feb. 10 - 17 is Tree Planting Week in the state.