In Mississippi, Arbor Day is celebrated on the second Friday in Feb. each year. This year it is on Feb. 8. Arbor Day is a day set aside to remind us to plant trees and to appreciate all of the great things trees do for us.

You might not consider trees that important. Who needs to rake up all of those leaves anyway? But trees are especially important in urban and suburban areas for a variety of reasons.

Most of us would agree that Mississippi summers are too hot to begin with, but urban areas in particular, are heat traps. Buildings, streets and parking lots absorb and hold heat from the sun causing these areas to be several degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside.

Trees moderate this by intercepting the sunlight. The air temperature under tree canopies is six to ten degrees cooler than outside it. Overall this helps to moderate temperatures in urban areas. Properly placed trees which shade your house can cut your air conditioning bill anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent during the summer.

Trees help out with air pollution also. The leaf surfaces of trees trap and filter out dust, pollen and other particles in the air. Trees help supply the oxygen we need to breathe as well as use the carbon dioxide that we exhale and that factories and engines emit.

Trees stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, cut down on noise pollution by acting as barriers to sound, hide unattractive views and provide food and shelter for urban wildlife. Trees also contribute greatly to beautification, increase property values and shade our outdoor living areas in the summer. Fruit and nut trees can also be used in the landscape even provide something to eat.

When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago! The next best time is this Arbor Day. Your home and community and this state will benefit from them.

Always remember to plant the "right tree in the right place!"


• Jan. 28-31 - Southwest District Livestock & Dairy Show, State Fairgrounds, Jackson.

• Jan. 30 - Check in Dairy and Beef Animals at Southwest District Livestock & Dairy Show.

• Jan. 30 - Beef Showmanship, 1:00 p.m., State Fairgrounds.

• Jan. 31 - Beef Show, 8:30 a.m., State Fairgrounds.

• Jan. 31 - Dairy Show, 10 a.m., State Fairgrounds.

• Jan. 31-Feb. 7 - Junior Roundup, State Fairgrounds, Jackson.

• Feb. 1 - Check in Dairy Animals for Junior Roundup Show.

• Feb. 1 - Dairy Judging Contest, 3 p.m., State Fairgrounds.

• Feb. 2 - Junior Roundup Dairy Show, 8 a.m., State Fairgrounds.

Until next week, get into 4-H!