BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – National Arbor Day typically falls on the last Friday in April, but for South Carolina, their tree planting season starts much earlier.
Arbor Day is a day set aside for schools, civic clubs and others to reflect on the importance of trees across the nation.
The father of Arbor Day, J. Sterling Morton, initiated the holiday in Nebraska in 1872.
So why does South Carolina start their planting season months in advance?
Climate has a huge impact on when the planting season begins in any given area. In the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry, it’s too warm to wait until April to start.
According to the South Carolina Forestry Commission, the state’s planting season begins in December and ends in mid-March. So, the first Friday of December is observed as Arbor Day.
In Georgia, the Forestry Commission says Arbor Day is the third Friday in February.
On Friday, garden clubs from the Beaufort area joined the City of Beaufort’s Park & Tree Committee to plant two 15-foot Sabal palmettos on Craven Street in downtown Beaufort, across from the Arsenal.
“Arbor Day is important to this city. Beaufort is a special place because we care about our community,” said City Manager Bill Prokop.
Funds for the project were donated by the Beaufort Council of Garden Clubs, the Beaufort Garden Club, the Sea Island Garden Club, the Dataw Garden Club, and Mary Ann Borrman, a member of the Beaufort Garden Club.
The landscape company, Palms on the Parkway, planted the Sabal palmettos.
The palmetto, which is on the seal of the State of South Carolina, as well as its flag, has historical importance to the state. During the Revolutionary War, Col. William Moultrie battled the British on Sullivan’s Island.
The fort survived the onslaught because palmettos, laid over sand walls, withstood British cannonballs.
The garden clubs raised $1,500 for the entire project. The funds were donated to Beaufort Pride of Place, a community improvement program managed by the City.