Arbor Day

The History of Arbor Day

Frank Lloyd Wright said, “The best friend on Earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on Earth.” Arbor Day is a holiday that recognizes the life of the trees on our planet and is an important day for the education and celebration of trees.

From the Latin origin of “arbor,” which literally translates to “tree,” [MR1] the holiday is typically celebrated on the last Friday in April. Arbor Day was declared an official state holiday in Nebraska in 1885. Trees are valuable for our country, as according to the Management Information Services, our 60 million street trees have an average value of $525 per tree. There are more reasons to celebrate though!


In the early 1870s in Nebraska City, Julius Sterling Morton purchased 160 acres and planted a wide variety of trees and shrubs in the flat plains. As an editor of the state’s first newspaper, Morton had the platform to spread information about the ecological importance of trees for Nebraska’s wildlife. Morton proposed a day to reflect upon the appreciation of trees, and an opportunity to plant them. Late April was chosen as the date of the holiday because of its ideal weather for planting trees.

By 1920, more than 45 other states and territories were celebrating Arbor Day, and the tradition of tree planting became popular in schools nationwide. The nationwide recognition of Arbor Day became more prominent in 1970 due to the efforts of President Richard Nixon. This was in line with the other environmentally-friendly actions taken by Nixon in the 1970s, such as the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and creating the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ways to Celebrate

One thing that makes Arbor Day so special is that while other holidays celebrate something that has already happened, Arbor Day celebrates a hope for the future. Planting a tree represents the hope and belief for our future generations that the tree will provide a better tomorrow through clean air and water, a habitat for wildlife, and healthier communities.

This year is the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day, and at Front Range Arborists, we care about trees. We strive to enhance and preserve valuable trees and turf, and our company focuses on upholding the highest ethical standards within the green industry. Call us and get a quote today for your trees!

 [MR1]Comma inside quotations