Arbor Day in Louisiana is the third Friday in January. That’s today. And one way to celebrate Arbor Day is to plant a tree.

Trees are a long-term investment, so select the correct tree for your planting location and purpose. During this time of year, the soil remains warm, encouraging vigorous root growth, and trees will have several months to get established before summer’s heat.

LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings says the many trees recommended for Louisiana include native trees, such as bald cypress and Southern magnolia, and others, like river birch, crape myrtles, maples, oriental magnolias, nuttall oak, Southern live oak, shumard oak and willow oak.

If you can’t plant a tree in your own landscape, you can plant a tree in the Burden Woods at the Arbor Day festivities at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17.

Each family or individual participating in the tree planting will be given certificates with GPS coordinates so they can monitor the growth of the trees they plant. The seedlings are provided by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

Lumberjack, archery, tree climbing and “toe chop” ax style and chainsaw wood sculpting demonstrations will be held at the Barton Arboretum.

Other activities will include a tree scavenger hunt along the trail, a visit with Smokey Bear and a hayride along with a bonfire and an opportunity for children to make decorative wildlife feeders.

In addition, children between the ages of 3 and 8 are invited to enjoy a book reading during StoryTime at the Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie. Supported in part by the Junior League of Baton Rouge, the program will begin at 9 a.m. with readings and activities starting every 30 minutes with the last reading at 10:30 a.m.

All children participating in the program must be accompanied by an adult.

Arbor Day at Burden is presented by the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Burden Horticulture Society, which welcome participants of all ages.

An entry fee of $5 for individuals 4 years old or older will be used to support the Project Learning Tree program for Louisiana school children.

The Botanic Gardens at Burden is located off Interstate 10 at 4560 Essen Lane in Baton Rouge.

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