The Tennessee Aquarium will be giving away 300 free trees for Arbor Day, starting Friday, at 10 a.m. Pin Oak and Flowering Dogwood trees will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the River Journey Gift Shop entrance.
According to Christine Bock-Hunt, the Aquarium’s lead horticulturist, these native tree species not only enhance a homeowner’s property, they also help improve backyard habitat for a variety of birds and other animals.
“Planting a native tree is one of the easiest things you can do to support our native wildlife,” she said. “And wildlife isn’t just birds, you are also supporting insects that pollinate the flowers and other wildlife that depend on trees for food and a place to raise and feed their young.”
Pin Oak Trees are fast-growing, heat-tolerant and do well in many soil conditions. When mature, they produce strong wood and dense shade.
A Pin Oak can be easily identified by the shape of its leaves, which have five to seven wide lobes at right angles to the leaf midvein. Mature Pin Oaks produce very small acorns that are approximately a half-inch long.
Flowering Dogwood Trees are considered one of Tennessee’s most beautiful small trees. This species typically reaches heights of only 12 to 20 feet, but are slow-growing due to the hard, dense wood they produce. While known for its beautiful blooms in early spring, the Flowering Dogwood is also valued for summer shade, brilliant fall foliage and bright red berries in winter that provide a food source for more than 40 bird species.
Planting and care instructions are included with each tree seedling.
A number of Arbor Day celebrations are planned throughout Chattanooga and Hamilton County on Friday.