Winter months are an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs: Crosby Arboretum Arbor Day plant sale is February 12

Published 1:11 pm Sunday, February 6, 2022

By Patricia Drackett

Director of the Crosby Arboretum and

assistant extension professor of landscape architecture with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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Each year, the Crosby Arboretum holds an Arbor Day plant sale that features a selection of Mississippi native trees and shrubs for late winter planting. This year’s sale will take place on Saturday, February 12 from 10 a.m. until Noon.

Although National Arbor Day is always the last Friday in April, it is observed at different times throughout the country, and is based on the planting times that are best for each state. The celebration was first observed in Nebraska City, Nebraska on April 10, 1872. On that day, approximately one million trees were planted in that state!

Ten years later, the first official Arbor Day celebration took place in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was instituted as a school festival and encouraged incorporating the planting of memorial trees, beginning the nationwide acceptance of this event.

Arbor Day became an official day of observance in Mississippi in 1926. Later, the second Friday in February was adopted as the day on which the state would annually observe the event. This year, Governor Tate Reeves proclaimed Friday, February 11th as Arbor Day and the following week, February 11th through the 17th as Tree Planting Week.

The Arboretum’s plant sale will feature many hard-to-find native plants such as Grancy graybeard, pawpaw, mountain laurel, dwarf blueberry, sweetbay magnolia, river birch, red starbush, red maple, black cherry, sweetshrub, longleaf pine, and oakleaf hydrangea. and native honeysuckle azaleas. Arboretum staff and volunteers, and Pearl River County Master Gardeners will be on hand to help you select plants which are appropriate for your site conditions.

How can you learn the precise conditions a plant prefers? Seek to understand your planting site, and you will be able to choose the plants that will perform best on your property.

The Pearl River County Extension office offers soil testing, and the MSU Extension Service website contains a wealth of informative publications to help you choose plants for your landscape.  Two excellent resources are “Selecting Landscape Shrubs” and “Selecting Landscape Trees”, which are available from the Extension website at Enter the titles in the search field at the top of the home page to read or download these two publications which include extensive tables of trees and shrubs and include the pH range for each species. Check this against your soil test results to see if your site provides the necessary conditions.

For more information on native species, search for “Native Trees for Mississippi Landscapes” and “Native Shrubs for Mississippi Landscapes”. The publications contain plant profiles with informative summaries on the cultural conditions required for common and uncommon Mississippi native plants.