Meridian celebrates Arbor Day

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The community gathered in Meridian Friday to celebrate the importance of trees.

“Today we celebrated Arbor Day 2018 here at the Velma Young Center and we gave away 100 fruit trees: hand-grafted apple and pear varieties that are native to our region,” says Craig Wilkes, the chairman for the Meridian Tree Commission.

The trees that were given out are perfect for the environment and weather for Mississippi.

“For apples it’s very difficult to grow just traditional apple trees here, it’s a little too hot, a little too humid,” Wilkes says. “These two nurseries that we’re working with today have spent years developing these varieties that will work within our region, so they should produce fruit and we’re hopeful they produce fruit.”

Students from Magnolia Middle School visited to learn about Arbor Day. Officials who run the event tell us that it’s important for children to understand why trees are vital to life.

“I really want them to learn how important trees are to the environment and to our live. Many kids just don’t understand how important trees are,” Wilkes explains. “They provide food, oxygen; parks are wonderful. So here we are at Velma Young and they are starting to plant trees here, so we thought it would be a good experience for them to come and see what Arbor Day means.”

There are simple steps to follow to make sure your tree grows properly.

“Make sure you put them in a nice sunny spot, lots of water, keep an eye on them, they love sun, and just don’t just walk away from them,” Wilkes says. “Tend to them a little until they get started and they should produce as long as you live.”

This year, National Arbor Day is being celebrated on April 21 but certain states celebrate the holiday earlier depending on their climate.