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Arbor Day tips and events on Long Island

There's no better time to plant a tree

There's no better time to plant a tree than Arbor Day! (Dec. 27, 2011) Credit: Daniel Brennan

Friday, April 27, is Arbor Day in New York, which always falls on the last Friday of April. Wondering why I just said, "New York"? You're not alone. Most people I've spoken with about this holiday of sorts have no idea that the date varies according to where you live. The date for your local Arbor Day is determined by the best time to plant trees in your region. There's also a generic, national Arbor Day, which happens to share the date with New York. It's less confusing that way.

This year, the Nature Conservancy is warning residents of invasive tree-killing insects and diseases that kill tens of thousands of trees annually. One of the best ways to avoid spreading them around is by not moving firewood or obtaining any for your home anywhere but locally. You might think firewood season is over, but all those summer bonfires are going to burn through plenty of wood. The question is: Where are you going to get it? Here are guidelines for shopping and chopping safely.

Enough about cutting down -- Arbor Day is about planting and appreciating. The Nature Conservancy is advising that we buy our trees and plants from reputable sources, and purchase certified, pest-free nursery stock whenever possible to avoid future problems.

In between shopping for and planting trees, here are three fun events to attend this weekend:

The Freeport Library is hosting a painting activity Friday at 6:30 p.m. for children in grades K-4. Participants will get to create a spring landscape of blossom trees using oil, pastel, and sponge painting.

A program at the William Floyd Estate Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m. celebrates Arbor Day with lessons about the differences between trees.

Old Westbury Gardens is hosing its annual Arbor Day celebration Sunday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Included in the festivities, you'll find educational program offerings, crafts for the kids, a guided walk and tree dedication (at 1 p.m.) Admission is $8; $3 for ages 7-17, and free for kids under 7.

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