UF/IFAS hosting tree giveaway Thursday

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) office in Panama City has partnered with the Florida Forest Service and the Arbor Day Foundation to give free trees to the community.

295 one gallon potted seedlings will be given away at the UF/IFAS office, located at 2728 E 14th Street Thursday beginning at 9 a.m. until they’re gone.

Jeffrey Johnson, a senior forester with the Florida Forest Service, said the event promotes why trees are important to the economy and it is also an educational opportunity.

“We kinda wanna get people more into the idea of replanting – a lot of people are kind of afraid to replant trees, so we want to show them that you can plant trees or what trees to plant, what trees do better … how to plant them, how to maintain them,” Johnson said.

UF IFAS Bay Co. Horticulture Agent Julie McConnell says making sure the tree will survive is important, and the giveaway will have trees that are appropriate to the area, following “Right Plant Right Place.”

“Although the stores definitely carry things that do well here, sometimes people will, especially if they’re mail ordering, they might order a tree that’s not really ideal for this location,” McConnell said. “We really wanna give people guidance and help on that to make sure they’re planting something they’re likely to be successful with.”

McConnell said trees are critical to the environment because of features like creating oxygen and shade as well as taking up water during rainfall.

Johnson, McConnell and UF/IFAS master gardener volunteers will be at the event to answer questions and provide information on the trees.

The following tree species will be available:

  • Live oak
  • Red maple
  • Southern magnolia
  • Bald cypress
  • Tulip poplar
  • White oak
  • Crabapple
  • Mayhaw
  • Chickesaw plum

More information is available on Facebook.

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