Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Arbor Day Foundation

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Hello fellow readers, We are inundated with requests for donations that come in varying forms and disguises. While we wish to give back and help others, evaluating good causes can be confusing. I recently received an official-looking envelope labeled 2018 New Jersey Tree Survey and thought perhaps research of the health of our woodlands was underway. It turns out the envelope was from the Arbor Day Foundation seeking “membership,” and the survey was more about my demographics – age, level of education, do I have children.

They did ask some tree questions like – have you ever climbed a tree or planted one, and “do you think the Red Oak is an appropriate choice as the state tree of NJ?”  Northern Red Oak, Quercus rubra, is our official NJ state tree, and yes, I think it’s appropriate. The Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is the state tree of Pennsylvania, also a favorite that thankfully seems to be rebounding from wooly adelgid that devastated stands of them. As we speak, our hemlocks are dropping hundreds of cones, much to Curt’s concern that they are clogging the gutters. It’s a sign of good health, dear Curt.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Mary Stone, Arbor Day FoundationThe fluffy questionnaire and attempt at creating a sense of obligation by adding custom address stickers turned me off, though I strongly believe in promoting the importance of planting trees. Trees purify the air and water, offer shade, and provide habitat for our critters. Besides that, they are beautiful. There’s nothing more magnificent than trees many years older than us. While unnecessary printing things seem especially counterproductive to their cause, I enjoy visiting folks who nurture saplings acquired from the Arbor Day Foundation. Brian’s six-inch baby trees planted in his backyard in Mt. Bethel, PA, are now three footers after only a few years.

Evaluating the efficiency of organizations that support good causes can be daunting. An acceptable rule of thumb is at least eighty-five percent of a donation goes to the cause, and hence no more than fifteen percent should go to management, expenses, and fundraising. From the Arbor Day Foundation’s 2017 annual report, I calculated ninety percent of their revenue goes to their work, but I’m hardly an accountant. Their donations are tax-deductible, unlike some conservation groups.

I’m not promoting membership to the Arbor Day Foundation per se, but I am promoting planting and nurturing trees. Even when they are leafless, their roots are working hard preparing for the next season of growth;  To help purify and protect our world.

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You’ll enjoy related stories Talking to Trees on Arbor Day and Forest Bathing

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary
  1. jean Jackson Reply
    Good thoughts, Mary. I love seeing lots of trees everywhere! We did miss the colors of Fall trees this year, The heat was too great, evidently.
    My three succulent plants that you gave me are doing well. The tall one may need to be repotted. What kind of soil does it need? I enjoy your articles!
    Love, Mom J.

    • Mary Stone Reply

      Thank you, Mom J, Trees were confused by the warm nights as I wrote about previously in the column titled Lackluster Fall Color. My Japanese maples rallied gloriously at the end as an arborist friend predicted, largely because they are late color changers.

      Glad to hear your succulents are thriving. That’s because of your nurturing care. A sandy soil mix is best when it’s time to upsize the pot. Check out the column Succulent Care & Feeding (one of my favs) for more information. On the home page there’s a Topic Search box so you can find the topics. Thank you so much for being my biggest fan. I am forever a fan of you ;^} Much love, Mary

  2. April Fisher Reply

    Hi Mary,
    We have a thirty foot Washington hawthorn that came from the Arbor Day Foundation 20 years ago! A worthy group!
    Thank you for your excellent tips on making donations.

    • Mary Stone Reply

      Thank you, April, You must be proud of your grownup baby Washington hawthorn. No doubt she was well taken care of like the rest of your beautiful garden. Appreciate you sharing the story, Mary

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