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      Elementary students get jump start on Arbor Day

      Students at John P. Thomas Elementary planted a tree in the backyard of their school Thursday morning to get a head start on the celebration.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - Students at a Midlands elementary school are getting a jump start on Arbor Day.

      Friday is officially Arbor Day in South Carolina. It is a day reserved for planting trees.

      Students at John P. Thomas Elementary planted a tree in the backyard of their school Thursday morning.

      Arbor Day is a tradition started 140 years ago by a Nebraska journalist who began writing about the need for trees in that state.

      Nationally, Arbor Day is celebrated April 27, but Richland County Arborist Carroll Williamson says the December tradition is better for young trees in the famously hot city.

      "That is a great time to plant trees because they're not growing anymore, and so you can dig them up, transplant them, and they'll be growing when spring comes," said Williamson. "They'll go ahead and put their roots out, and they'll be semi-established in the landscape."

      Williamson says Arbor Day is also a good opportunity to inspect all the trees on your land and call an arborist to do any maintenance that might be needed on the larger trees.