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The public is invited to learn more about planting trees and the benefits of trees, especially in flood prevention, at the annual Arbor Day celebration Sat., Dec. 1, 10 am, at Town Square.

Local arborist Andrew Wagner of Heartwood Tree Service will be on site to demonstrate tree-planting and to answer questions about trees, and free refreshments will be on hand for as long as they last. As a bonus, the Town Square (and other sites in town) will be freshly decorated for Christmas earlier that morning, by the Black Mountain Beautification Committee.

 “Give your kids a great Christmas gift by bringing them to learn about the benefits of trees,” said Sheridan Hill, chair of the town’s Urban Forestry Commission.

Given the damage wrought by hurricanes and flash flooding in recent years, tree-planting comes to the foreground for homeowners.

“Trees are not only beautiful, they are the first line of defense against flooding,” Hill said. “The tree canopy breaks the impact of rain on soil and slows down the velocity, which creates the perfect conditions for tree roots to absorb more rainwater and not send it downhill.”  

Wagner agrees, adding, “If all the storm water in Black Mountain rolled into the Swannanoa River and downstream, the city of Asheville would be negatively impacted. Lawns and golf courses do not absorb rainwater to any extent that is useful, especially in comparison to the value of trees in storm water management.”

Wagner advises that anyone who has questions about a specific tree should bring several leaves from the tree as well as several photographs.

Celebrating Arbor Day is a reminder to support efforts to protect our trees, and is a requirement for earning Tree City status from the National Arbor Day Foundation. National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, but each town can pick its own date for the event.

“We make an immense mistake when we think of trees as solely an aesthetic member of the community,” says conservationist Dr. Richard Leakey. “They cut pollution, cool the air, prevent erosion, muffle sound, and produce oxygen. Then—after all that—they look good.”

The Urban Forestry Commission is one of the town’s citizen advisory boards, and citizens are invited to all meetings, which are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30 at the new Public Works Parks and Recreation building located at 304 Black Mountain Avenue. The agenda for each meeting is available on the town’s website: for more info, see www.townofblackmountain.org or call 419-9300.

The Value of Trees

One large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people. (N.C. State University)

In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of carbon dioxide produced by a car driven 26,000 miles, and also release oxygen in exchange.  (U.S. EPA)

Carefully positioned trees can reduce a household’s heating and cooling energy consumption by up to 25 percent and can save an average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs annually. (U.S. Forest Service)

Every dollar spent on planting and caring for a community tree yields benefits that are two to five times that investment: cleaner air, lower energy costs, improved water quality and storm water control and increased property values. ( U.S. Forest Service)

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