Money and trees make news on National Arbor Day


I pity Arbor Day. It used to get all of the attention while its poor cousin, Earth Day, received nary a card. At least, that's how it seemed to me growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. I don't think I had even heard of Earth Day. But now, it seems to have turned around. Arbor Day is hardly noticed.

That's a shame, since clearly, the last time I checked, trees are still pretty vital to creating oxygen for everyone to breathe. So in honor of both Arbor Day and WalletPop, I thought I'd do a quick roundup of what's going on lately in the world of trees and money.

Pennsylvania today launched a statewide initiative to plant one million trees in urban areas around the state. That's a great thing, of course. Trees are applauded for doing everything from protecting the asphalt on the roads (by blocking the sun's rays and drying it out) to reducing violence in housing projects. Arguably, it stimulates the economy as well, by just making a neighborhood a nicer place to visit -- and shop.

On the other hand, you need to have money to water the trees. In Burlingame, a community near San Francisco, they've been on a tree-planting kick lately (500 trees in 15 months), but as the San Francisco Examiner is reporting, the city may not have the funds to water them (it's apparently important to water young trees and give Mother Nature a break). That's because the city had to lay off two members of its landscaping staff and may need to lay off one of the five people assigned full-time to plant and maintain Burlingame's 18,000 trees. And so they're asking residents to pick up the slack.