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Free trees find a home

Free trees find a home

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COVID-19 was unable to stop Gretna’s annual Free Tree Giveaway & Tree Planting Workshop, sponsored by the Gretna Arbor Society (Tree Board.)

Early on a chilly, rainy Saturday morning, members of the Gretna Tree Board unloaded 80 deciduous trees from the Great Plains Nursery, delivered by Brian Byers, and 80 bags of hardwood mulch from Earl May Nursery.

A special thanks goes out to Jaryd Barnett, Earl May store manager, for the reduced mulch price. Barnett also delivered the mulch himself. The tree guards for each tree were donated by a local Gretna arborist.

Vehicles began arrving at 8:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. event, lined up from the location of the trees and wrapping around the front of the school and back to the main road. A second line was created to keep them off the street.

Because the event was restricted by the COVID-19 guidelines, the trees were given away a little differently this year. Normally, attendees receive a number and most of the people who showed up on time received a tree by number. If there were any trees left over, numbers are drawn randomly for the remaining trees.

That couldn’t happen this year because there was not enough room to give out one tree per vehicle and then ask the driver to go out to the street and get back in line. So, two trees, mulch and tree guard where given out as the vehicles came up to the trees.

Next year, we will go back to the old system if the virus restrictions are not in place. Gretna Tree Board members are also looking into the possibility of buying more trees or smaller trees, but most Gretna residents like the taller/bigger trees.

A special thanks goes out to the following Gretna Arbor Society board members for their help in planning and giving out the trees: Jerry Imig, Missy Ragatz, Jim Keepers, David Kovar, John Wolken, Marshall Jaros and Ron Sawyer, our senior mature board member who is always present and helps our Gretna senior residents with tree issues.

Thanks again to Angie Lauritsen, Gretna City Council Representative to the Board, for assisting at the event. Lauritsen always makes a point to be at all of the Gretna Arbor Society events. A special thanks goes out to Doug Clark who jumped in and helped with traffic control. He did a great job.

Remember to return to tree bags to the large container in front of Gretna City Hall. The Tree Board receives a credit for each bag returned.

Remember, the Gretna Mayor and City Council have designed September as “Gretna Tree Planting Month.” In addition, the Fall Tree of the Year Contest is still in effect. Get your nominations into Jim at by Sept. 28 for a chance to win a free tree.

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