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On Saturday, the city of Conway will celebrate Arbor Day at Laurel Park. The city will hold Arbor Day this weekend, rather than on the nationally observed holiday on the last Friday in April, city Arbor Day coordinator Ouida Wright said, because the small trees planted at local schools tend to have a better chance of becoming big trees when they're planted at this time of year.
There is a "feel-good" aspect to planting and protecting trees, Wes Craiglow of the Conway Planning Department said, but trees are good for more than hugging.
"Stormwater management is my biggie," Craiglow said. "We live in a city where we have stormwater management issues i.e. flooding. Having a healthy tree canopy can go a long way toward mitigating those problems."
Trees help keep the water that falls on the city out of buildings and homes by slowing it down, Craiglow said. Also, he pointed out, "trees drink water."
"For every ounce of water that tree is drinking, or rather absorbing, that's another ounce that's not going into our stormwater system," Craiglow said.
Once the water gets into the city's stormwater management infrastructure the canals and culverts that carry stormwater away from the city it carries less sediment and pollution, Craiglow said, if it's been "filtered" through trees and shrubs.
Since city workers have to spend less time shovelling silt, it saves the city money.
Trees can also save developers and homeowners cash. By keeping existing trees or planting new ones near a home or business to provide shade, cooling costs can be reduced.
In the winter, evergreen trees planted at the north side of a building can block cold wind, making the structure cheaper to heat.
With a combination of deciduous trees on the east, south and west sides, and evergreens on the north, he said, you can have the best of both worlds. Plus, Craiglow said, attractive landscaping, complete with trees and shrubberies, raises property values.
"Ask any realtor," he said.
Note: The views expressed in this news story do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of Storm Water Solutions, Water and Wastes Digest, or Water Quality Products.