Texas Arbor Day celebrates, protects University’s trees

Claire Allbright

To celebrate Texas Arbor Day, Landscape Services, University staff and members of the community gathered to plant three fruit trees at the corner of San Jacinto and 24th streets Friday morning.

Texas Arbor Day takes place the first Friday of November annually, whereas National Arbor Day is held in April. Jim Carse, assistant manager of urban forestry for Landscape Services, said Texas Arbor Day is celebrated in November because newly planted trees survive better in cooler weather.

“A couple of years ago, the legislature changed the Arbor Day date in Texas to align with the right time of year to plant trees,” Carse said. “It’s too warm in April, so it’s better to plant trees in the early fall in Texas so it’s cool for a couple of months before it gets hot again.”

This location on campus, nicknamed UT Orchard, is home to citrus and fruit trees including peaches, plums, pears, figs, kumquats, lemons and persimmons.

“[The orchard] doesn’t really have a formal purpose other than it allows the UT community to see and visualize what fruit trees do well here in Central Texas and what you could plant at your home,” Carse said. “We also welcome people to come down here and properly pick fruit if they want.”

Jennifer Hrobar, supervisor of urban forestry for Landscape Services, said Arbor Day celebrations are important to increase student involvement in sustainability work on campus.

“We are all stewards of this area and of preserving the trees and the green spaces that we have,” Hrobar said. “We have to be voices for the trees and the green areas so that we have locations that are protected for students to come and enjoy.”

Gloria Fang, research engineering assistant in the College of Pharmacy, said she wanted to pick up a seedling Landscape Services was giving away to plant in her backyard.

“I’m very interested in gardening. It’s something that I enjoy doing and would like to be better at doing,” Fang said. “This is our environment. We should do what we can to make it better.”

Landscape Services is coordinating a Tree Campus USA service project on Nov. 21 where they will be planting 80 seedlings at Clark Field. They also facilitate the planting of memorial trees and catalogue notable trees on campus and maintain information on the Battle Oaks, which have survived since the Civil War.