Happy Sesquicentennial, Arbor Day!

Friday, April 29, marks the 150th anniversary of National Arbor Day, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Arbor Day – aka National Tree Planting Day – began in Nebraska in when J. Sterling Morton, the secretary of the Nebraska Territory, proposed the holiday in January 1872. Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states and almost everyone, including Hoosiers, observe it on the last Friday in April.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the benefits of planting trees include improving air quality and health, saving energy, improving property values and even reducing crime. That’s part of the reason why the Indiana Department of Natural Resources provides a tree seedling for each Indiana third grade student whose school and teachers wish to participate in the Arbor Day program, as well as seedlings to plant at Indiana schools.

Trees and the North Split

Landscaping and “urban forest” concept are an important component of Superior Construction’s Aesthetics and Landscaping Plan for the North Split. In addition to preserving trees in the “do not disturb” areas, thousands of new trees and shrubs will be planted once construction is complete.

The project’s Aesthetic Design Guidelines provided a framework palette of plants, and the current palette includes a broad range of shade and ornamental trees native to central Indiana. “Using plants that are already members of the finely tuned complex of local interrelated species – plants, animals and microbes – is a responsible approach to planting design, helping to ensure the local natural environment continues to thrive and deliver all the benefits it provides us,” said Jeff Pitts, one of the landscape architects from RATIO Design.

The trees that will be planted include oak, hickory, maple, beech, tulip poplar, and sweetgum and black gum varieties. “The interchange at the confluence of the three legs forms the center of the ‘urban forest;’ Pitts added. “Here we will introduce sugar maple, sweetgum and black gum for their stunning fall color.”

With regard to ornamentals that will be planted at the side slopes and within the North Split interchange, there are approximately two flowering trees to every shade tree. Those include serviceberry, redbud, dogwood and hawthorn varieties. Based on feedback received after the AEIP meetings, evergreens are now also being incorporated into the planting schemes for the side slopes.