Record number of trees sold at Coon Rapids Arbor Day event

More trees were sold in the city of Coon Rapids’ 2013 Arbor Day tree sale than in previous years.

That surprised City Forester Tommy Schibilla. “I was only expecting a few trees to be sold because of the late winter,” he said.

Instead, 140 trees were picked up at the City Garage Friday, by residents who had ordered them.

And Schibilla believes the reason for the surge in tree sales this year was an increase in publicity by the city and, in particular, by Stephanie Ring as the new public relations coordinator.

Eight species of trees were offered for sale – black cherry, prairie fire crabapple, Japanese lilac, spring snow crabapple, autumn blaze maple, accolade elm, skyline honeylocust and linden greenspire.

Most popular tree for purchase each year is the maple, according to Schibilla.

But he recommends to residents that they mix them up, not buying two of the same variety at a time or purchasing a different type of tree the following year, Schibilla said.

The trees are sold in bare root form ranging from six to eight feet in height.

The sale price for each tree was $25 and there was a limit of two for each customer.

Mandy Herr, a Coon Rapids resident since 1996, bought a tree during the Arbor Day event for the first time.

Her husband, Kyle, wanted a tree in the yard, she said.

She took home an autumn blaze maple.

Steve Fawcett and his wife Deb have been residents of Coon Rapids for 19 years, but for them this was also the first occasion they have taken advantage of the city’s tree sale, he said.

“We heard about the sale and decided we wanted some more trees in our yard,” Fawcett said.

Fawcett purchased a spring snow crabapple and autumn blaze maple.

According to Schibilla, trees must be planted and watered the day they are picked up.

And concerned by the impact of the late winter, Schibilla checked out the state of the ground earlier in the week.

“I was able to dig into the ground so the frost was out and people will have no problems planting the trees,” Schibilla said.

He recommends that the roots of the trees be one or two inches below the soil surface.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]