Community invited to ceremony at Lake Como on South Main Street Wednesday, April 24, at 5:30 p.m.

The Smyrna Shade Tree Commission's annual Arbor Day tree planting will honor former Vice Mayor Regina I. Brown Wednesday, April 24, at 5:30 p.m., at Lake Como on South Main Street near DuPont Highway.

The public is invited to attend this free event and reception. Seedlings of dawn redwood will be distributed to attendees, courtesy of the Smyrna Downtown Renaissance Association, while supplies last.

The commemorative tree, a Norway spruce, will be planted near the entrance to the historic district and will be lit for the holidays. The iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City is a Norway spruce. The species is one of the most durable evergreen conifers and is generally resistant to pests, wind and ice storm damage. It is a popular selection for parks and lawns and makes a great windbreak.

The dawn redwood seedlings are also conifers, although they are deciduous and shed their needles each autumn. They grow in a conical shape to 100 feet and are related to and closely resemble the native bald cypress. From fossil records, dawn redwood is known to have existed as many as 50 million years ago when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. The tree was thought to be extinct; however, it was discovered growing in the wild near the town of Modaoqi, China in 1941, where it is rare and considered to be a national treasure. As the tree matures, the trunk broadens at the base and develops attractive and sometimes elaborate fluting. Bark on mature trees is often deeply fissured. It features feathery, fern-like foliage that is soft to the touch. Foliage emerges light green in spring, matures to deep green in summer and turns red-bronze in fall. It is a popular lawn tree since it generates very little leaf litter.

Tree champion

The Shade Tree Commission will also continue its practice of recognizing a tree champion each year, one of Smyrna’s most impressive trees.

This year’s award goes to Dave Thomas’ mature specimen of Higan cherry growing at the northwest corner of East Street and Mount Vernon Street near Centennial United Methodist Church. The tree was planted by Thomas’ father.

Thomas will also be recognized at the Arbor Day event April 24.

About the Shade Tree Commission

The Smyrna Shade Tree Commission is continuing its ambitious initiative to increase the canopy of trees which shades the town and is seeking to encourage others to join the town’s “One Thousand Trees in Ten Years” campaign, funded from grants, private donations, property owners and the Town of Smyrna.

Those interested in supporting this project should call Councilwoman Valerie Forbes who chairs the commission at (302) 423-6516 or email councilwomanwhite@yahoo.com.