In celebration of Florida’s Arbor Day today, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is encouraging Floridians to protect the state’s natural resources by planting native trees like the sabal palm, Florida’s state tree. Native species protect the environmental balance and beauty of the Sunshine State by preventing the spread of invasive plants.
Native trees maintain wildlife habitats and environmental beauty of Sunshine State.
“From towering trees to small shrubs, Florida has more than 400 species of native vegetation,” said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. “By encouraging the growth of indigenous plants, Floridians conserve water resources, reduce soil erosion, improve air quality and protect our aquatic ecosystems.”
Florida is home to several species of invasive vegetation, including the Australian pine, chinaberry and Brazilian pepper. Invasive, non-native plants inhabit almost 15 percent of Florida’s public conservation lands and waterways, impacting native species and wildlife habitats. By planting native vegetation Floridians can protect the state’s natural woodlands, hardwood hammocks and mangrove forests.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day. Since then, every state in the nation and many countries around the world have designated its own Arbor Day. In Florida, late winter is an ideal time for planting native trees, making Florida’s Arbor Day the third Friday in January, weeks earlier than the national observance.
Source: Florida DEP