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Clayton conservation district, extension office partnering for tree give-a-way

JONESBORO — Clayton County residents are being asked to plant the seeds for the county’s future on Georgia Arbor Day.

Clayton County’s soil and water conservation district and cooperative extension office will conduct their annual tree giveaway Feb. 21, beginning at 12 p.m. at the extension office, 1262 Government Circle, in Jonesboro.

Officials said they are focusing on water quality and the ways in which it benefits as the theme of this year’s Arbor Day.

“The planting of trees means improved water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion,” said conversation district Chairman Vacal Caldwell in a written statement.

This year, people who come by the office will receive Red Maple and Catalpa seedlings. Both trees are fire resistant hardwoods, according to the Georgia Forestry Commission website.

Commission officials say Catalpas, which are short, are generally used as an ornamental plant with white or purple-tinted flowers. Red Maples which gets its name from the red color its leaves turn in autumn, grow rapidly and can be as tall as 90 feet, according to commission officials.

Although National Arbor Day is not observed until April, conservation district officials said it is traditionally observed on the third Friday of February in Georgia because of the state’s warmer climate. It is not uncommon for states to hold their Arbor Day celebrations on separate days from the national date, according to the Arbor Day Foundation’s website.

The Georgia Forestry Commission recommends trees be planted in Georgia by mid-March so they can entrench themselves in the soil before the summer heat rolls into the area.