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Local organizations partner to provide native trees to community

Feb. 19—Several local organizations are teaming up to give away free native trees.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, from 8 a.m.-12 p.m., there will be a tree giveaway with the goal of improving the Athens-Limestone area by planting trees that help stop flooding, provide shade and habitat for wildlife and produce fall color.

Happening at the EMA building (1011 Market St. W., Athens, AL, 35611), attendees can expect an assortment of native plants, such as crab apple, American hornbeam, snow hill hydrangea, persimmon, redbud, pecan and many more trees native to the north Alabama ecosystem.

"Establishing native species on your property allows for ecosystem processes that can't be achieved with common lawn grass or ornamentals. If you want to rebuild and strengthen the natural habitat in your backyard, that plan has to include native plants," said an article on homegrownnationalpark.org.

David Bullion, Limestone County's forestry specialist supervisor with the Alabama Forestry Commission, estimates that there will be 2,700 seedlings to give away at the event.

Along with seedlings, attendees can also gain knowledge and some tips for how to properly plant new trees as well as more information on the importance of native vegetation in the Athens-Limestone community.

For those who cannot make the morning event for all of the information sessions, Bullion said that the most important tip for a successful seedling is hydration.

"Just make sure you keep them watered well the first couple of years after planting. This is when the roots will get established," Bullion said.