USDA yearly tree sale scheduled for Thursday

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The local USDA office’s annual tree sale begins bright and earlyThursday morning, and officials are preparing for the stampede ofeager gardeners who make the event a brief, frenzied success yearafter year.

The sale begins at 7:30 a.m. at the National Guard Armory onHighway 84, but the approximately 5,000 trees and shrubs sellingfrom $1 to $5 are usually gone within two hours, said yearly”worker bee” Lynn Richardson.

“We’re usually sold out by 9:30 a.m.,” she said.

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Richardson said the sale will offer several varieties of trees,such as hardwood, ornamentals, flowering ornamentals, fruit treesand free pine saplings. A full list of trees for sale will beavailable at the armory Thursday morning, she said.

“It’s a good way to get what you want in your yard, and itdoesn’t take long to get these little guys to grow large,”Richardson said. “You’ll never beat these prices. You can get fiveor six Crape Myrtles for what you would pay for one atWal-Mart.”

Richardson said the sale is conducted on a first come, firstserved basis. She encouraged interested tree shoppers to arrive asearly as possible, as the people are usually lined up out of thearmory before the doors are open.

Tony Rogers, a soil conservation technician with USDA’s NaturalResources Conservation Service, said the purpose of the annual treesale is to encourage people to plant trees. The planting seasonlasts from December to March, he said, and the trees that will besold Thursday are bare root saplings, which have a good chance ofsurvival.

The tree sale is the Lincoln County USDA office’s way ofencouraging tree planting, Rogers said, pointing out that most ofMississippi’s 82 counties have some program to encourageconservation.

Rogers said the ways in which timber is beneficial toMississippians are “endless.”

“It’s mind-boggling how important trees are to humanity,” Rogerssaid. “When you go to the bathroom every day you probably usesomething made out of trees. Your home is made out of trees; yourbed is made out of trees. Fruit-bearing trees produce things weenjoy eating. Not to mention the whole oxygen thing, carbonsequestration and all that.”

Rogers expects approximately 200 people to attend the tree sale.He said money raised at the tree sale would be used to buy moretrees for next year’s program.