Also see Environment and Gardening.
Remember National Arbor Day the last Friday in April.


The Value of a Tree

It is difficult to place a monetary value on the many vital services that trees provide. However, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection calculates that a single tree that lives for fifty years will contribute service worth nearly $200,000 (in 1994 dollars) to the community during its lifetime. This includes providing oxygen ($31,250), recycling water and regulating humidity ($37,000), controlling air pollution ($62,500), producing protein ($2,500), providing shelter for wildlife ($31,250), and controlling land erosion and fertilizing the soil ($31,250). (from Sacred Trees)

The Secrets of a Tree

Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence. And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky. For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them, to haunt about them with the idea that if we could only read their silent riddle rightly we should learn some secret vital to our own lives; or even, more specifically, some secret vital to our real, our lasting and spiritual existence. (Kim Taplin)

Page Idea

Tree in Four Seasons--this would work just as well with groups of trees or shrubs.

What Do We Plant?

(Henry Abbey)

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
We plant the ship, which will cross the sea.
We plant the mast to carry the sails;
We plant the planks to withstand the gales--
The keel, the keelson, the beam, the knee;
We plant the ship when we plant the tree.

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
We plant the houses for you and me.
We plant the rafters, the shingles, the floors,
We plant the studding, the lath, the doors,
The beams and siding, all parts that be;
We plant the house when we plant the tree.

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
A thousand things that we daily see;
We plant the spire that out-towers the crag,
We plant the staff for our country's flag,
We plant the shade, from the hot sun free;
We plant all these when we plant the tree.

Tree House

(James Stevenson)

There's a tree house
Up in the apple tree,
A platform of planks
Jammed between the branches.
To get there,
Climb a stairway of sticks
Nailed to the trunk
Like a busted xylophone,
Mountaineers and pirates
Ascend and descend,
Busy as inchworms,

How many are up there now?
It's anybody's guess;
Green leaves keep it secret.
Could be no one, could be three.
Could be ten
With peanut butter
And an excellent
view of France.

Song of the Open Road

(Ogden Nash)

I think that I shall never see
billboard as lovely as a tree.
Perhaps unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.

An Act of Faith

(S.S. Hager)

Today I saw an act of faith
A man was on his knees,
Not in a church but by a fence--
Planting apple trees.

Be different to Trees

(Mary Carolyn Davies)

The talking oak
To the ancients spoke
But any trees
Will talk to me.
What truths I know
I garnered so.
But those who want to talk and tell,
And those who will not listeners be.
Will never hear a syllable
From out the lips of any tree.

Arbor Day

The seeds we plant today
With sun and rain and rest
Will grow to be the shade
That all the land wears best.

Arbor Day

(Betty Foust Smith)

"Tree Planting Day" they called it
In Nebraska long ago.
Now we call it Arbor Day, and
Oh, I love it so!
I love to plant a growing thing--
A tree, a shrub, a vine--
And know it will for years and years
Keep growing there, a sign
To children who come after me
That someone thought of them,
And left behind a living friend
More precious than a gem.

Arbor Day

I cannot dig a great big hole
And set a tree into it,
But I can make a little hole
And I am going to do it.

Then in the little hole I'll drop
This acorn brown and shiny,
And that way I can plant a tree
Although I am so tiny.


(Joyce Kilmer)

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Every Time I Climb a Tree

(David McCord)

Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
I scrape a leg
Or skin a knee
And every time I climb a tree
I find some ants
Or dodge a bee
And get the ants
All over me.

And every time I climb a tree
Where have you been?
They say to me
But don't they know that I am free
Every time I climb a tree?

I like it best
To spot a nest
That has an egg
Or maybe three.

And then I skin
The other leg
But every time I climb a tree
I see a lot of things to see
Swallows, roof tops and TV
And all the fields and farms there be
Every time I climb a tree
Though climbing may be good for ants
It isn't awfully good for pants
But still it's pretty good for me
Every time I climb a tree

from Birch Trees

(Robert Frost)

I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Lovely Lilacs

(Louise Driscoll)

My lilac trees are old and tall;
I cannot reach their bloom at all.
They send their perfume over trees
And roof and streets, to find the bees.

Looking Up at Leaves

(Barbara Howes)

No one need feel alone looking up at leaves.
There are such depths to them, withdrawal, welcome,
A fragile tumult on the way to sky.
This great trunk holds apart two hemispheres
We lie between . . . Like water lilies
Leaves fall, rise, waver, echoing
On their blue pool, whispering under the sun;
While in this shade, under our hands the brown
Tough roots seek down, lily roots searching
Down through their pool of earth to an equal depth.
Constant as water lilies we lie still,
Our breathing like the lapping of pond water,
Balanced between reflection and reflection.

The Heart of the Tree

(Henry Cuyler Bunner)

What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants the friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high;
He plants a home to heaven anigh
For song and mother-croon of bird
In hushed and happy twilight heard--
The treble of heaven's harmony
These things he plants who plants a tree.


(Sara Coleridge)

The Oak is called the King of Trees
The Aspen quivers in the breeze,
The Poplar grows up straight and tall,
The Pear Tree spreads along the wall,

The Sycamore gives pleasant shade,
The Willow droops in watery glade,
The Fir Tree useful timber gives,
The Beech amid the forest lives.

Druid Ceremony for Planting a Tree

In earth and water will you grow. In the air will your leaves speak as you reach towards the fire of the sun. We respect and honor and admire you, O tree, and all trees, for you represent both Peace and Power--though you are mighty you hurt no creature. Though you sustain us with your breath, you will give up your life to house and warm and teach us. We give thanks for your blessing upon our lives and upon our lands. May you fare well in this chosen place.

Woodman, Spare That Tree!

(General George Pope Morris)

Woodman, spare that tree!
Touch not a single bough!
In youth it sheltered me,
And I'll protect it now.
'T was my forefather's hand
That placed it near his cot;
There, woodman, let it stand,
Thy axe shall harm it not.

That old familiar tree,
Whose glory and renown
Are spread o'er land and sea--
And wouldst thou hew it down?
Woodman, forbear thy stroke!
Cut not its earth-bound ties;
Oh, spare that aged oak
Now towering to the skies!

When but an idle boy,
I sought its grateful shade;
In all their gushing joy
Here, too, my sisters played.
My mother kissed me here;
My father pressed my hand--
Forgive this foolish tear,
But let that old oak stand.

My heart-strings round thee cling,
Close as thy bark, old friend!
Here shall the wild-bird sing,
And still thy branches bend.
Old tree! the storm still brave!
And, woodman, leave the spot;
While I've a hand to save,
Thy axe shall harm it not.

Official State Trees

Tree ABC's

(Compiled by Bonnie Jasperson)

A - aspen, ash, apple, autumn, American holly, American elm, acorn, arboretum, ancest-tree, ax, alder, avocado, Arbor Day, apricot, almond, autumn olive
B - birch, bonsai, box elder, bird's eye maple, banana, buckeye, beech, bark, blue spruce, bump on a log, buck saw, board feet, broad leaf, bamboo, bristlecone pine, balsam, black walnut, butternut, bald cypress, burr oak
C - cedar, changing colors, cottonwood, Chinese elm, cypress, Christmas tree, climbing, chain saw, crab apple, conifer, copse, coconut, cherry, chestnut, catalpa, chinkapin oak, Colorado blue spruce, California redwood
D - dogwood, Douglas Fir, date palm, dead wood, dwarf
E - evergreen, elm, eucalyptus, English walnut, ebony, eastern red cedar, eastern white pine
F - fir, fall, falling leaves, forest, forestry, fruit trees, field maple, fraser fir
G - giant sequoia, grove, growth rings, ginkgo, gum, golden raintree, green ash
H - hawthorne, hemlock, hedge apples, hug a tree, hardwoods, hackberry, hazelnut, hickory, holly
I - Ilex (holly family), Ironwood
J - juniper, jungle, joshua, jack pine
K - kapok, knock on wood, Kentucky coffee-tree, kousa dogwood, kenai paper birch
L - leaves, lemon, lumber, lumberjack, log, limb, lodgepole pine, larch, linden, locust, loblolly pine, lombardy poplar, live oak, long leaf pine
M - maple, magnolia, mimosa, mountain ash, mountain laurel, mahogany, mulberry, myrtle
N - nuts, norway spruce, nordmann fir, nootka cypress, northern pin oak, northern red oak
O - oak, olive, orchard, orange, osage orange, Oregon ash, Ohio buckeye
P - pine, pear, piles of leaves, pine tar, pine cones, poplar, pecan, ponderosa pine, palmetto, pinyon pine, pine needles, palm, pawpaw, prune, peach, persimmon, plum, pin oak, pinon pine
Q - quaking aspen
R - raking leaves, redwood, roots, red maple, red bud, red oakrope swings, russian olive, rhododendron, rain forest, river birch
S - sycamore, Smokey the Bear, sap, sugar maple, spruce, sapling, sawdust, saw mill, stump, soft woods, sweet gum balls, splinter, swing an ax, smoke tree, seeds, sitka spruce, sumac, scotch pine, silver maple, sweetgum, scarlet oak
T - teak, tiger maple, timber, tulip tree, tree line, timber, tree hugger, tree-rific, tree-mendous, trunk, twigs
U - Ulmus (species name for elm trees), urban forestry, umbrella-pine
V - Verbenaceae (teak family), vine maple
W - walnut, willow, woods, white birch, white oak, wildlife habitat, wooden it be lovely?, western hemlock, weeping willow
X - xylem cells (what wood consists of)
Y - yellowwood, yew, yellow birch, yellow cedar (a type of cypress), yoshino flowering cherry, yellow palo verde, yellow poplar
Z - zelkova (a species of elm), zanthoxylum (family for prickly-ash trees)

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Songs about Bushes

Songs about Trees

Songs about Leaves

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