St. Marys celebrates Arbor Day with tree planting

Photo by Amy Cherry – Fifth grade students from St. Marys Catholic Elementary School lend a hand in helping plant a new Autumn Blaze maple tree at Benzinger Park as part of the St. Marys Shade Tree Commission’s Arbor Day celebration. Photo by Amy Cherry – SMCE fifth grade class displays the 2018 Arbor Day Foundation flag presented to the City of St. Marys during a recent tree-planting ceremony.
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

The St. Marys Shade Tree Commission hosted its annual Arbor Day celebration on Thursday afternoon with a ceremony and tree planting at Benzinger Park.
Fifth grade students from St. Marys Catholic Elementary School assisted in planting a new Autumn Blaze maple at the park. The tree is situated next to the park building.
David Grotzinger of West Creek Nursery guided students on how to plant a tree. Students took turns shoveling dirt around the tree, compacting it, installing a plaque, then covering the area with mulch.
The plaque lists the name of the tree, who planted it and the date it was planted.
This year's tree of choice was an Autumn Blaze maple, a large, fast-growing tree with bright fall color which is a hybrid of red maple and silver maple, both native to the eastern and central U.S.
The Autumn Blaze maple is one of the most popular hybrid maples in the U.S. and grows in a wide range of climates. It can grow three feet or more each year, eventually reaching 40-60 ft. tall and 40-50 ft. wide. In the fall, the tree develops an intense, vivid orange-red color.

For more on this story, see today's print edition of The Daily Press.