Valley residents enjoy record tree giveaway

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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VALLEY — Valley Tree Board members were extremely pleased with the turnout at Saturday’s annual tree giveaway at city hall. A total of 500 ready-to-plant trees were given away in the Tree Board’s annual Arbor Week celebration. City of Valley employees assisted in giving out the trees to a long line of city residents, who were there for the 8 a.m. distribution. The trees were provided by Ponder’s Nursery and were given out from several Public Works Department trailers. The trees were given out on the south side of city hall. At one time, the line wrapped around the front of city hall to the north side of the building.

“This has to be the biggest turnout we have ever had,” said Tree Board President Suzie Britt. “We are so pleased to see this many people planting trees at their homes in Valley. We enjoy them telling us about how the trees are doing they got in our previous tree giveaways.”

As a member of Tree City USA, Valley has a tree board that distributes trees for planting by its citizens in the city. These distributions have been taking place since the 1980s, the decade the city was founded.

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The national organization was founded in 1976 and has grown into one of the Arbor Day Foundation’s largest programs. There are more than 3,600 Tree City USA members scattered throughout all 50 states. Valley is one of nearly 80 Alabama cities in the program.

There are four requirements in being a Tree City USA member: (1) to have a tree board or department, (2) to have a city or community tree ordinance, (3) to spend at least $2 per person on urban forestry and (4) to celebrate Arbor Day.

The crepe myrtles along Fob James Drive are an example of the work done over the years by the city and its tree board.

Tree Board members present for Saturday morning’s distribution were Britt, Bonnie Bonner and Ronnie Bonner. City employees helping out included Public Works Director Patrick Bolt, Barry Ferrell, Stacy Brown, Jessie Morgan, Mekell Smith, Terrence Brown and Rodney Compton.

The types of trees given out this year included Leyland cypress, blueberry and plum trees along with snowball bushes.

Once the line started moving at 8 a.m., the trees were given out fairly quickly. It took less than 30 minutes to give them all out. Anyone getting there after 8:30 a.m. was out of luck.

A drawing was held to award two special trees. W.R. Trammell was the winner of a large-size tulip tree and Margaret Leigeber won a big cherry tree.

“We want to thank the city for its continued support over a long period of time,” Britt said. “We also want to thank Patrick Bolt and the employees of his department for helping us give out the trees this morning. We also want to thank Ponder’s Nursery for the important role they play in this every year. We especially want to thank this big crowd of Valley residents for turning out today and their interest in making their yards and this city a more attractive place.”