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Madison Beautification and Tree Board to hold annual Arbor Week celebrations this month

MADISON — After getting a taste of springtime last week, many Madison residents are ready to spend more time outdoors. As part of their annual Arbor Week celebrations, the Madison Beautification and Tree Board has a couple special events in store to help make Madison even more beautiful in time for the warmer weather.

Feb. 26 will mark Alabama Arbor Day. The board will be coordinating with the mayor’s office, public works and parks and recreation for recognition by Tree City USA. According to Amber Braman, board president, this is their 18th year with the program.

At noon, Madison residents are invited to join the board, Tree City USA and Madison Mayor Paul Finley at the Madison Public Library to witness the planting of a heritage tree. Braman said this event will help celebrate Madison’s sesquicentennial.

Braman said they chose a Scarlet Fire Dogwood tree, developed by Rutgers University, because of its versatility; increased resistance to pests and diseases; climate and soil adaptability; and striking color.

“The color is a dramatic pink to fuchsia, which is expected to be stunning in full bloom and to be a nice addition to the new Madison Library,” Braman added.

Later that day, the board’s annual Arbor Day Workshop will take place beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at Madison Municipal Complex. This year’s workshop, featuring guest speaker Clarissa Balbalian, will offer tips on how to “help your landscape thrive.” Balbalian will teach attendees about tree and plant diseases and how to recognize them. Balbalian is director of the Mississippi State University Extension Plant Diagnostic Laboratory and has 17 years of experience in her field.

The workshop is free and open to the public, and no registration is needed. Braman said the International Society of Arboriculture will award 5.25 continuing education points to all arborists who attend the workshop. Also in honor of Madison’s sesquicentennial, the board will be distributing a total of 150 tree saplings of different varieties to workshop attendees for them to plant.

On Feb. 25, the board will honor the winners of this year’s Arbor Day Poster Contest at the Madison City Council meeting. The contest was open to fifth-graders in Madison City Schools’ seven elementary schools. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at Madison Municipal Complex. The winning entries will also be displayed at the meeting. This year’s poster contest theme was “Trees are Terrific…Inside and Out.”

The board sends these winning entries to the statewide contest as well.

“The Madison Beatification and Tree Board hopes to continue enriching Madison City residents with education on important topics like ‘right tree right place,’ ‘proper crape myrtle trimming versus crape murder,’ and now disease identification for them to have the ability to know the proper care for trees and plants in their landscape,” Braman said.

Madison City Council approved a $10,000 appropriation for the Madison Beautification and Tree Board this year at their Jan. 28 meeting. For more information on the board, visit keepmadisonbeautiful.org or  www.madisonal.gov/92/beautification-tree-board.

The Madison Public Library is located at 142 Plaza Boulevard. Madison Municipal Complex is located at 100 Hughes Road.

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