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The Lake County Parks Department is committed to providing quality parks and open spaces along with many recreational, cultural, and educational opportunities for the use an enjoyment of all Lake County residents and visitors.



What to Plant for Arbor Day

Arbor Day has been a national holiday since the late 1800s. It all started in Nebraska by J. Sterling Morton when on the first Arbor Day more than one million trees were planted.

With the great diversity of trees and shrubs, it can be frustrating to figure out what to plant. For example, there are more than 200 species of oak, 200 species of elm, and 100 species of maple across the globe. So what should you plant?

How about native trees and shrubs? They are an excellent choice for Arbor Day. Native plants are easier to care for, are more hardy and disease resistant, and benefit wildlife. Listed below are a few native shrubs that are good for landscaping.

  • Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) is a good cold hardy shrub. It produces a cluster of white flowers in the spring. The fruit is not only good for birds, but is also edible. Some say the juice adds a nice flavor in jelly. The leaves turn a nice red color in the fall.
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) is a popular native for landscaping. The edible fruits also attract some unique and colorful birds like cardinals, waxwings, and orioles. The flower is a beautiful white.
  • Arrow Wood (Viburnum dentatum) procures its name from the Native Americans who would use the young stems to make arrows. The shrub is also considered medicinal. The flowers are white. It produces blue berries and yellow leaves for a good mix of color in the fall.
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida ) is very popular for landscaping, but don't forget the other dogwoods. Red-osier (C. sericea) and silky dogwood (C. amomum) have red twigs that add color in the heart of winter. Over 30 species of birds are attracted to the fruits.
  • Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is one of the few hollies that grow this far north. The red berries attract over 40 species of birds. The berries however, are inedible to humans. Winterberry is dioecious, meaning that there are separate male and female shrubs. Male shrubs will not fruit. This is a good shrub to plant if deer and rabbit are a problem because these animals prefer to eat other plants.

Most of these shrubs produce white flowers, while the redbud produces purple flowers. Shop around. Many nurseries have native shrubs and trees. It's best to double check the scientific names to make sure the species is really native. As an example, there are many species with the name burning bush, but only Euonymus atropurpureus is native to this area.

Going native is a good way to landscape and benefit our environment at the same time. Arbor Day is a good day to start.

For reservations and more information about the Lake County Parks Call 219-769-PARK
Mon-Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm Central Time (Chicago Time)

Lake County Parks and Recreation Department Corporate Office
8411 East Lincoln Highway, Crown Point, Indiana 46307
Just west of Deep River WaterparK 4.5 miles east of I-65 on Route 30