HONOLULU (KHON2) – In Hawaiʻi, Arbor Day is celebrated on the first Friday of November. 

But throughout this month, there are still tree and plant giveaways scheduled giving you the chance to take home some plants and some trees home for free so you can benefit from them. 

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The next round of giveaways will be this weekend, this Saturday in particular here in Mānoa Valley. 

So, to find out more about this, we are here in the back of Mānoa at Lyon Arboretum with the Horticulture Manager, Tim Kroessig. 

First of all, tell us what Arbor Day is all about.

“Arbor Day is all about celebrating trees and the life that the trees provide for organisms as well as the benefits that they provide us as humans,” says Kroessig.

So, every year we do this, or every year organizations such as yourself help to grow trees and really care for them giving them, the people and the public, the opportunity to take them home. 

How long does it take, this round I hear is around 1,000 trees, how long does it take to prepare this?

“Well, it all depends on the tree but on average, it takes between 6-8 months to get the trees propagated, get them established and have them ready to go home with the lucky residents of Hawaiʻi,” says Kroessig.

So, if people do take them home and make use of this free giveaway, what are some of the benefits that we have by planting trees, either at home or our office or what have you?

“There are many benefits for having trees in your life,” says Kroessig.

“They provide shade, so they help to keep your yard nice and cool on those hot summer days, they provide us with nice, clean breathing air and oxygen, they provide us with habitat for other animals and birds and various things that utilize the tree, and then they provide us with food as well.  There are many fruiting trees, there is medicinal trees, so there is a variety of different benefits that trees give us in our everyday lives and to have one and to bring one home and have them in your yard, you bring those benefits even closer to yourself,” says Kroessig.

I think when we think of taking trees home, we have to have a house, we have to have a yard. 

But what if someone lives in an apartment?

How do they have a chance to care for trees?

“Well, it’s all about tree choice,” says Kroessig.

“There are some trees that can survive and live out their lives within a nice big pot, but we also have a variety of plant materials that most of our Arbor Day giveaways that aren’t just limited to trees. So, we want everybody, from somebody who lives in an apartment to somebody who has a nice big yard, to be able to bring a plant home and to enjoy it in their personal living space and get those benefits from those plants.”’

What are just some of the trees that people can expect this weekend?

“Some of the trees that we have been hard at work growing include koa trees, ʻulu or breadfruit trees, we actually have some cacao or chocolate trees, and a variety of other shade growing trees, fruiting trees,” says Kroessig.

Kroessig continues, “We have avocados, we have plants, and a number of other things that people can expect to see at the tree giveaway here in Mānoa Valley.”

So again, in honor of Arbor Day, over 1,000 fruit plants to ornamental trees to shrubs all available for free on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

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So, you are going to need to know that it’s this Saturday, November 12 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. right here in Mānoa at the UH President’s House, also known as College Hill. 

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