Arbor Day is not like other holidays. Each of those reposes on the past, while Arbor Day proposes for the future. - J. Sterling Morton
Since 1872, Arbor Day has been recognized as a time to plant and appreciate trees. The Arboretum usually celebrates this day with a tree-planting ceremony and similar gatherings on-site. This year, to ensure social distancing in support of public health, the Arboretum is closed for the month of April. The isolation brought on by this temporary shelter-in-place mandate has reinforced more strongly than ever the human need for connection with nature and the value of trees and cherished green spaces.
Even while we are staying home this Arbor Day, we can all take practical steps to care for trees and green spaces and to work for a future that is greener, healthier, and more beautiful.
Here are some suggestions of things you can do to protect and celebrate trees:
Get to know your trees
Use the Arboretum’s plant advice pages to research and choose a new tree that is the right size and species for your yard.
Teach children to identify and appreciate the trees around them, using the Arboretum’s Learning in Place resources.
Use the Tree Finder by May Theilgaard Watts, founder of the Arboretum’s education program, to learn tree ID basics.
Learn what trees do for us
Discover the Benefits of Trees and how they can help us cope with the challenges of a changing climate.
Show how you appreciate trees by adding your story to the Tree-mendous Tree Stories website.
Care for trees and green space
Consult the plant advice pages for information on how to care for your trees.
Ask the Plant Clinic about tree care practices or problems, or to seek other plant and gardening advice.
Watch Plant Clinic videos about tree care.
Sign up for a webinar on Tree Care Basics for Homeowners May 7.
Register for an online course to learn about trees, nature, gardening, or ecological restoration.
Science and conservation at The Morton Arboretum
Learn how The Morton Arboretum works in Chicago and around the world to study and protect trees for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world.
Support the Arboretum
Like many other organizations, The Morton Arboretum is not spared from the unfortunate financial effects that accompany this difficult period.
With your support, the Arboretum will remain focused on planting and protecting trees for a greener and healthier world. In addition to being a home for important tree collections and beautiful natural landscapes, the Arboretum can continue as a premier place of learning for all ages and a world-renowned leader in tree science and conservation.
Arbor Day history
Arbor Day is an annual celebration of trees. The first Arbor Day took place in 1872 in Nebraska at the suggestion of businessman J. Sterling Morton. His son, Joy Morton, founded The Morton Arboretum 50 years later.
In many states, including Illinois, Arbor Day is the last Friday in April. Some states and nations have other dates. Learn more about the history of Arbor Day.