2014 National Planting Day

Keep America Beautiful and Keep Manatee Beautiful are asking residents to join us in supporting local ecosystems by planting species native to their area this fall. Manatee County residents can join communities nationwide this Saturday, September 6, for the second annual Keep America Beautiful’s National Planting Day. National Planting Day celebrates the value and power of native species in restoring ecological balance to the environment while creating greener, more beautiful communities.

This will be a beautiful day to celebrate life by planting trees, especially Florida native trees, in yards at home and by businesses all across the county. Trees are truly beneficial. They help air quality, with their leaves acting as filters of pollutants above the surface. And they help water quality, with their roots acting as filters of pollutants below the surface. In addition, the root systems of mature trees help prevent soil erosion. Trees also cool the air naturally. Homes shaded by trees use less energy for air conditioning, reducing home energy bills by as much as 30%. Carefully landscaped, trees can also increase property values and even speed sales.

Trees are especially helpful because they absorb and hold carbon dioxide both above and below the surface. As part of their daily life cycle, they absorb carbon dioxide from the air and give off oxygen. At the same time, within their root systems, they support many microbes which also absorb carbon dioxide. In these days of climate change, trees are truly a gift to future generations.

As in many other counties in Florida, many residents of Manatee County are grandparents. What a beautiful gift it would be for them to plant a tree for each of their grandchildren, and where possible, even involve them in the selection.

Why Plant Natives?
Native species are losing ground to suburbanization, fragmented habitats, ornamental plants and invasive species. Yet we know that natives are critical to attracting specialized pollinators and insects, which in turn provide food for birds and ultimately many more animals up the food chain. Natives also provide habitat for wildlife. Natives are hardy, low maintenance and require less water than other ornamentals.

Trees native to Manatee County come in many different sizes and shapes, and they have different needs. Before planting a new tree, the homeowner should seek information about which trees will be right for the right place in his yard. Selecting the right tree for the right place will help make this planting a success. This information is readily available from reputable landscape businesses, Keep Manatee Beautiful (www.manateebeautiful.com), the IFAS Extension Office in Palmetto (www.floridayards.org), the Florida Native Plant Society (www.fnps.org), and at American Beauties Native Plants (www.abnativeplants.com).

Kick Off Summer with Dive Against Debris Cleanup Event on June 21

Kick off your summer with the “Dive Against Debris” cleanup event, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Green Consortium!

DiveAgainstDebris2014AdThis year’s dive is at Spanish Rocks Reef at Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island on Saturday, June 21 from 8:00 a.m. to noon. View a map and get driving directions here.

You can help out by volunteering as a scuba diver, kayaker, canoer, paddleboarder, safety observer, or data collector. Divers must be Open Water certified with at least 15 open water dives in their logbook.

Check out the event flyer for full details and diver requirements. To volunteer, register online with the Tampa Bay Green Consortium.

Thank you for helping keep Manatee beautiful. See you there!






TOGETHER Let’s Keep Manatee Beautiful!

Keep Manatee Beautiful is a nonprofit organization established in 1991 as the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. We bring people together to build and sustain vibrant neighborhoods. Through partnerships with other Keep America Beautiful affiliates, businesses, organizations and local governments, we work with volunteers to take action and create sustainable impact. Keep Manatee Beautiful offers solutions to clean and improve Manatee County’s public places, reduce waste, increase recycling and inspire generations of environmental stewards.

View our video below. Please consider becoming a partner and making a tax-deductible donation today!

We believe that lasting change happens when people work together – one person at a time, one community at a time. Our programs rely on the dedication of volunteers, currently more than 7,000. Want to get outside, meet other people and do good work towards keeping the community beautiful? Do you have a special place in Manatee County that you would like to keep beautiful?

Be part of the community and join us today!

KMB Who We Are Magazine 2014


Mark a Drain for Only Rain

Keep Manatee Beautiful seeks  volunteers to “Mark A Drain for Only Rain” in Manatee County.   Volunteers can call Keep Manatee Beautiful at 795-8272 to check out kits to place permanent placards by storm drains.

Many people believe storm drains connect to sewer treatment systems.   In southwest Florida, whatever enters storm drains is discharged into a  neighboring body of water, such as the Manatee River, Tampa Bay and Gulf of Mexico, without benefit of treatment.  Pollutants that enter storm  drains include used oil and antifreeze from vehicles, chemicals and  grass clippings from yards, pet waste and litter.  According to the  United States Environmental Protection Agency, more than 60 percent of  water pollution in the United States comes from urban and agricultural  stormwater runoff.

The placement of these placards alerts  people to the fate of runoff water and the pollution carried with it  from lawns and streets.  While this project doesn’t solve all water  pollution problems, it is a practical, positive, easy first step toward  public education, involvement and support for local watershed stormwater pollution prevention.  The placards tell people not to dump into the  storm drains and why.

To volunteer for “Mark a Drain for Only  Rain”, please call Keep Manatee Beautiful at 795-8272 or e-mail  keep@manateebeautiful.com.

Don’t Top Trees

Never cut main branches back to stubs. The sight of topped trees is all to common in the communities and along the roadways of America – trunks with stubby limbs standing naked in the landscape, trees stripped of all dignity and grace.

Trees are often topped because they grow into utility wires, interfere with views or solar collectors, or simply grow so large that they worry the landowner. But as one arborist has said, “Topping is the absolute worst thing you can do for the health of your tree.”

Why not to top: 8 good reasons

  1. Starvation: Topping removes so much of the tree’s leafy crown that it dangerously reduces the tree’s food-making ability.
  2. Shock: By removing the protective cover of the tree’s canopy, bark tissue is exposed to the direct rays of the sun. The resulted scalding can cause the tree’s death.
  3. Insect and Disease: The exposed ends of topped limbs are highly vulnerable to insect invasion or decay fungi spores.
  4. Weak Limbs: New branches that grow from stubbed limbs are weakly attached and more liable to break from snow or ice weight.
  5. Rapid New Growth: Instead of controlling the height and spread of the tree, topping has the opposite effect. New branches are more numerous and often grow higher than before.
  6. Tree Death: Some tree species can’t tolerate major branch loss and still survive. At best, they remain weak and disease-prone.
  7. Ugliness: A topped tree is a disfigured tree. Even with new growth, it never regains the grace and character of its species.
  8. Cost: The true cost of topping is often hidden – lower property values, expense of removal and replacement if the tree dies.

Proper pruning – the alternative to topping

When a decision is made to reduce the size of an older tree, it can be topped, or it can be pruned properly. Although the speed of and nature of regrowth will depend on species and local factors, any comparison between irresponsible topping and competent pruning will be dramatic.

  • Year 1: The topped tree is an ugly stub and a remnant of a once lovely tree. If pruned properly, the tree’s size is reduced but form and beauty are retained.
  • Year 3: Vigorous sprouts have sprung out of the topped tree in large numbers and are growing with abnormal rapidity. The pruned tree adds growth, but it does so more slowly and distributes it more normally.
  • Year 6: In a relatively short time, the topped tree is as tall – and far bushier and more dangerous – than it was to begin with. The properly pruned tree is safer, more beautiful, and its size is better controlled.

Article from the Tree City USA Bulletin of the National Arbor Day Foundation. Download and post a copy of the Don’t_Top_Trees.