McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

October 22, 2012

Several residents take home free trees on Friday

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER —  

Several McAlester area residents took home some tree planting tips along with free tree saplings Friday morning during the Annual Tree Giveaway at Mike Deak Field parking lot.
The program was sponsored by the City of McAlester’s Tree Board and it’s Land Maintenance Department.
Before the give away, a short instructional session on the proper way to plant and care for the new trees was given by McAlester’s Head Gardener Sherman Miller and other members of the City’s Land Maintenance Department.
Linda Motes of McAlester said she was surprised at the information she learned during the session.  
“I thought it was very helpful and I learned about using the mulch correctly,” she said.
During the session Miller said it’s important to use mulch around the tree but  to use just a thin layer next right next to the tree and gradually use more mulch inches from the tree to keep the moisture in. He also so joked about a common disease that kills new saplings.
“Using lots of mulch around the tree keeps the weeds away and helps prevent ‘weed eater disease.’ He said saplings are often hit with the weed eater.
“I didn’t know that about the mulch,” Motes said.
Haileyville resident Pat Moore, a retired teacher, said she picked up a Chinese Pistache tree and a Red Oak.
“I wanted something with a lot of color,” she said.
Moore said she was surprised to learn that Mike Deak field is also one of the largest arboretums in the State of Oklahoma. 
“We have more than 700 different varieties,” Miller said. “We have one of the largest collection of trees in the state.” 
Patton said the process of labeling the trees will soon begin. “We are getting ready to put the signs up on each tree,” he said.
For some, the tree saplings will be used to restore life to property destroyed by this year’s wildfires.
Jim Wilcox of Crowder said he would be taking a home a couple of  oak trees. “I lost many of my trees to brush fires this year.” Wilcox said. He said he is replacing several pine and oak trees that were burned or destroyed by the ashes that covered his property.
Robbie Wilcox of the City’s Land Maintenance Department also help to give instruction during the session. He said when planting the trees, “it’s important to take the time and do right.”
Miller said he wants to people to plant trees.
“We want to keep planting trees for future generations,” Miller said.
Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.