L-R  City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh, Bennett Tucker (Hitchcock Woods Superintendent), Robert Abernethy (President of The Longleaf Alliance), Aaron Campbell (Horticulturist – City of Aiken), Mayor Rick Osbon

After going through the grass stage, longleaf pines begin to grow in height. Both mature trees and grass-stage specimens are fire-resistant. The lifespan of a longleaf pine spans several centuries. These slow-growing trees live for over 300 years, and they may take up to half that time to reach their full size.

The City of Aiken celebrated Arbor Day on Dec. 7th with the planting of a Longleaf Pine tree at the intersection of Chesterfield and Barnwell Avenues. The Longleaf Pine tree was brought from Florida by Robert Abernethy, President of The Longleaf Alliance, whose mission is to ensure a sustainable future for the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem.

The Longleaf pine is the longest-lived of the southern pine species. Throughout most of its range and various stages of growth, individual Longleaf Pines can reach 250 years in age, with trees more than 450 years old having been documented.

The celebration of Arbor Day is one part of the annual Tree City USA application. As a winner of the Tree City USA award every year since 1985, Aiken has long treasured its trees.

Aiken’s trees provide many benefits in various forms: shade for cooling and reduced energy consumption; reduction of air pollutants; stormwater runoff reduction; water quality improvements; an increase in property values; and aesthetics that are also linked to mental and physical health.

The State of South Carolina celebrates Arbor Day on the first Friday of December every year, which is at the conclusion of the state’s long growing season.