In recognition of Earth Day 2021, which takes place Thursday, April 22, the City of Delaware Department of Public Utilities and Department of Parks and Recreation teamed up to plant 200 tree saplings and ¼ acre of prairie grasses at the wetlands at Mill Run Park on Monday.
The 200 saplings are a mix of trees and shrubs, including fragrant sumac, arrowwood viburnum, common persimmon and red maple. They are all native to Ohio, so this is a great way for the city to celebrate Native Plant Month, in addition to Earth Day and Arbor Day.
Ohio was one of the first states to declare April “Native Plant Month” in 2020, and it became a nationally celebrated month starting this year. It is also the 40th anniversary of the City of Delaware Shade Tree Commission. Every year since 1981, the City of Delaware has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
The variety of trees and shrubs planted Monday were chosen strategically for their benefit to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, their attractive spring and summer flowers, their rich autumn color, and their ability to stabilize soil. Fragrant sumac is a low-growing plant that will help minimize erosion, and it boasts beautiful fall colors of purple, red and burgundy. Arrowwood viburnum is a very tough plant that grows in almost any condition, has rounded white flowers throughout the summer, and has red and purple leaves in the fall. Common persimmon has a deep root-structure that will also reduce soil erosion. Red maple is a hardy tree that was chosen for its ability to hold soil in place, and because it thrives in wet, swamp-like conditions. They are very attractive to wildlife, and as their name implies, their leaves turn a lovely red in the autumn season.
Also planted Monday was ¼ acre of prairie seed mix, which included grasses and forbes, which are native to the region. This will reduce the need for mowing, create wildlife habitat, and help absorb stormwater.
The saplings and seed mix were completely free to the City of Delaware, provided by Green Columbus, a volunteer-driven nonprofit group who organizes the largest volunteer-driven service event for Earth Day in the country.
Stop by Mill Run Park at 840 Mill Run Crossing to see the efforts of the city to beautify and create sustainable wildlife habitat. For questions regarding other sustainability initiatives in the city, please contact Watershed & Sustainability Coordinator Erin Wolfe at 740-203-1905 or [email protected]