Extension service hosts tree seedling giveaway

In celebration of Arbor Day, the Clayton County UGA (University of Georgia) Cooperative Extension Service, and the Clayton County Soil and Water District are giving away trees to the public.

Today, between noon and 3 p.m., the extension service office in Jonesboro will give away 250 crabapple, and 250 dogwood seedlings, with the hope that locals will plant them in places where they can grow and prosper.

The giveaway will take place at the extension service office, located at 1262 Government Circle in Jonesboro.

According to Tom Bonnell, horticulture program assistant for the service, for several years, the soil and water district has purchased tree seedlings and the extension service has given them away, in order to enhance the area's green space.

"The idea is to get people to plant the trees, because they are beneficial to wildlife and they are popular ornamentals," Bonnell said. "The quickest way to make a place look more beautiful is to plant a tree."

The crabapple and dogwood trees selected for this year's giveaway are both flowering trees suited to Georgia's climate, according to Bonnell. He said that depending on soil conditions, crabapple trees can grow to be 20-to-30-feet tall and dogwood trees can grow to be up to 40 feet tall.

Bonnell said that during the giveaway, those interested in receiving a tree will be invited to watch a two-minute, instructional video on how to properly plant the trees.

Master gardeners from the county's extension service will also be on site to answer questions about the trees, or about planting in general.

"We want you to plant the tree, but we want you to know what to do with it when you plant," Bonnell said. "Any tree can become wildlife habitat."

For more information, call (770) 473-3945.