It has been customary in the Holliston Garden Club to plant at least one tree a year on Arbor Day and to have a ceremony accompanying the planting. The committee meets the prior summer to start discussion about a possible Arbor Day tree and criteria. (At this time, trees for the Tree of the Month are also selected.) Then we meet again in the fall and winter to drive around Holliston, looking for possible Arbor Day tree sites, to discuss options and make arrangements. We ask at board meetings for suggestions for possible trees and sites. You could also send a general club email asking for suggestions.
The object is usually to plant a tree to beautify public access property, preferably in a location where the tree can be seen from the street so that more residents can view it. Be sure to receive permission from the Town if it is to be planted on Town property. This entails petitioning the Town Administrator, who then asks the Selectmen to approve the planting. You may or may not have to appear before the Selectmen to do this. Once permission is granted, you should contact Dig Safe to see if there are any gas, electric or water impediments to digging where the tree is to be planted. Sometimes the school or a Town Dept. will do this for you, sometimes not.
Ask for help and funding if necessary, from town departments, arborists, and local organizations such as the Newcomers Club, which offers a yearly grant opportunity, or the Celebrate Holliston organization, which also offers a grant and has selected our grant proposal for this in the past. The Highway Dept. can be very helpful with the actual planting, by digging the hole and providing mulch.
Encourage club members, officials and townspeople to come to the planting on Arbor Day, which is the last Friday of April. Invitations may be sent to specific people and town departments.
Create Arbor Day displays at the library in both the adult and children’s sections two weeks before or the weeks before and after Arbor Day, to further encourage, educate and alert townspeople. If the displays can be recycled by giving them to the elementary schools for use in their tree curriculum or at the garden club booth for Celebrate Holliston, so much the better.
Contact the media through Publicity to photograph and run a story prior to and after the events. Especially helpful has been the HollistonReporter.com.
Following is a chronological list of tasks to be done and helpful information related to the Arbor Day tree. We have bought trees from Weston Nurseries and Bigelow’s Nurseries in the past. Check around to see the best deal for the club.
- Winter: Ask the Town for permission to plant the tree and if Town will dig the hole. It should be dug around April 1, or as soon as the ground is soft enough.
- Winter: Ask the Town Administrator how he wants us to handle the ordering and billing. Call the nursery to be sure the tree will be available in the spring and ask if they will bill the Town using the Town’s municipal discount. Give the Administrator the tree ordering information and he will actually order the tree (that you have previously made the arrangements for). When he gets the bill, he gives it to us for the club to pay; give this to our Treasurer. Also give him the invitation list and ask him if it is complete or if he’d like anyone else on it to invite. If the tree will not be planted on Town property, there is a different procedure, of course. And sometimes we don’t have to go through the Administrator for payment and take care of it ourselves.
- Winter: Call the nursery to be sure that the town (or we) will order the tree as soon as all this is confirmed, in early March. Be sure they will have the tree available and ask the cost. Go to see the tree, if possible, or see it when it comes in, in the spring, and tag it.
- Winter/Spring: Find someone who will pick up the tree with a truck the week before Arbor Day and then bring it to the site the morning of Arbor Day to save us the delivery fee. Someone must bring compost, soil and mulch to the area just before planting. Find someone who will plant and stake the tree. The Town might help with all of this.
- March 1: Ask Publicity to publish articles about this around April 1 and supply Publicity with the necessary information. They might want to ask someone to come and cover the ceremony for his website on the Holliston Tab. Have Publicity notify Holliston Tab, Holliston NetNews, MetroWest Daily News, and/orCable 8 of Arbor Day affair.
- March: Ask the Town Administrator if he’d like to attend tree planting and if he’d like to say a few words there. If the tree is not planted on Town property, don’t do this, but do ask others to speak.
- April 1: Order and place a tree id. sign if the club decides to have one. They cost $20 in 2011. You can use the Treespotters budget, unless you go over the budget for the tree. If you do, we must request sign money from the Board. Sign placement can be on Arbor Day or afterward.
- Mid-April: Planting the trees. Ask for amendments to be brought from the Town and left near the tree for us to use or find our own source of amendments. Must be enough to fill in the hole.
- April: Plan a watering committee, to water weekly until October. Arbor Day: Bring a couple of spades to the ceremony, and have a hose for watering.
- April: Ask our club photographer to take photos.
Carol Holly 2022