A wise man once said the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.

Kris Thomas, the city of Dalton’s arborist, relayed that maxim to a small group of people assembled outside the Roan School on Friday.

Since it’s impossible to go back in time, the city of Dalton is planting trees now, Thomas said. The city planted seven Nuttal oak trees along the sidewalk of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near the school.

The Dalton Tree Board planted the 10-foot-tall trees, which can grow to a height of 65 feet and a width of 45 feet, in observance of Arbor Day.

Charlie Bethel, a member of the City Council, read a proclamation from Mayor Ray Elrod in support of the work of the Tree Board.

“I appreciate the bold vision,” Bethel said concerning the Tree Board’s efforts.

The planting was also part of the Tree Board’s “Community Partners in Planting” initiative, a project that began last month when the city planted 15 trees on the Dalton High School campus near Waugh Street.

The program, which is targeting Waugh Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in its first year, seeks to pair homeowners and the city in an effort to plant more trees in the city.

“The city has always planted trees on public property, but now we’re trying to integrate the private sector,” said Thomas.

The Tree Board will match homeowners’ $50 investment to plant a tree on their property, and will help select the appropriate tree for the yard. The one requirement is the lot must have 100 feet of frontage on either of the targeted roads.

“We’re hoping to do every street in the city in the future,” Thomas said.

He said the city has a list of about 22 trees that homeowners can choose from.

Both over-story and under-story trees are included on the list, and Thomas said city officials decide which is appropriate for a particular yard.

Over-story trees are taller, and can interfere with power lines, whereas under-story trees are shorter and can be planted near power lines.

Anyone wanting to become involved in “Community Partners in Planting” can contact Thomas at 277-5524 or 537-2843, or Brenda Lloyd at 281-1247.

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