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Bransford Elementary Digs Bagwell’s Arbor Day Give Away


Judging from the smiles and good cheer that permeated Bransford Elementary School grounds on Wednesday, April 22, David Bagwell Company’s second annual Arbor Day Give Away was rousing success.

With students, faculty, parents and Colleyville Mayor David Kelly in attendance, the festivities kicked off with the planting of a large Compton oak tree by the David Bagwell Company landscape maintenance team. Next, David Bagwell, assisted by Mayor Kelly and Principal Hodges, provided thoughtful, hands-on instruction on how to properly plant and maintain a tree. Then, over 500 small trees were distributed to students and faculty members, and a drawing was held that sent 30 fortunate students home with a slightly larger tree, a tree shelter, a white oak stake and a fertilizer packet.

“We have received so many wonderful comments from parents and staff,” said Holly Costello, PTA Environmental Chair and a key coordinator of the event. “Everyone was impressed by the generosity, knowledge and professionalism of David and his staff. It was a wonderful experience for the students and everyone involved.”

Click a thumbnail from the gallery below to view the full size image.


To view additional photos from the 2009 Arbor Day Give Away at Bransford Elementary School, visit Mrs. Costello’s photo gallery.

Second Annual Arbor Day Give Away Targets Fertile, Young Minds

Pioneering American philosopher William James once said, “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.” James’ sentiment is not lost on Colleyville developer David Bagwell. Much of the copious tree planting his company undertakes throughout his neighborhoods, on area school grounds and in public spaces will not reach maturity in his lifetime. Rather, these trees are intended to enrich the lives of our collective posterity.

The locale for David Bagwell Company’s second annual Arbor Day Give Away serves these purposes. This year’s event on Wednesday, April 22 will be held at Bransford Elementary School in Colleyville. Scheduled activities begin at 3:15 p.m., just after school dismisses. They include the planting of a large Compton oak replacing a large post oak that died, the distribution of 500 seedlings to students and faculty, and a demonstration of how to plant them. Additionally, a drawing will be held in which 30 lucky attendees will each receive a somewhat larger tree, a tree shelter, white oak stake and fertilizer packet to help foster the growth and safety of their little tree. Bransford Elementary School Principal Dr. Sarah Hodges and Colleyville Mayor David Kelly will be on hand to commemorate the day, as well as Bransford PTA Environmental Chair Holly Costello, who was instrumental in coordinating this year’s event.

  Bagwell Associate Jeff Dennington demonstrates a young tree and the starter kit that 30 lucky attendees at Wednesday’s Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration will receive.

“David’s passion for trees and education is so obvious when you have a conversation with him,” Mrs. Costello remarked. “Personally, I feel like he is leaving such a great legacy in the City of Colleyville. His developments are an enhancement to our city, and the trees he continually donates to various campuses and all throughout the city will still be around in a hundred years for everyone to enjoy. We feel very grateful to him, not only or what he’s doing at our school, but for what he’s doing for the city at large.”

Mrs. Costello also chairs the Bransford Elementary PTA’s “TV Turn Off Week”, which happens to coincide with this year’s Arbor Day Give Away. Throughout the week, students are encouraged to refrain from watching television and several PTA-sanctioned events, many of which are outdoors, are set-up to occupy their time. The Arbor Day Give Away serves this purpose on Wednesday, which as luck would have it is also Earth Day.

“My company is enthusiastic about sharing our love of trees with the students and teachers at Bransford Elementary,” Bagwell shares. “We eagerly embrace any opportunity to instill an appreciate of trees and the environment in future generations, and we have found particularly receptive audiences at area schools in the past. With the actual Arbor Day falling on Friday, April 24, it’s my hope that the 500 little trees we’re giving away will be planted by their new owners on or before this most altruistic of holidays.”

The Compton Oak—How This Handsome Hybrid Got It’s Name

In the early 1900s tree species were still being discovered and classified across North America. One such specimen, the then-anonymous, naturally occurring hybrid of the Southern live oak and Overcup oak, caught the eye and captured the imagination of Ms. C.C. Compton of Natchez, Mississippi.

  A fine example of a Compton Oak located in David Bagwell Company's Whittier Heights neighboorhood.

“Miss Charlie”, as she was affectionately known, met the preeminent horticulturalist Charles Sprague Sargent of Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum when he was in the area on a tree and plant identification expedition through the American South. She shared her discovery of several of these yet-unnamed oak trees in the Natchez-area with the eventual author of the authoritative “Trees of North America” two-volume set.

Quercus Comptonae (commonly called Compton oak) became an officially recognized species on April 17, 1915 and subsequently appeared in Harvard Press’ The Botanical Gazette, where Sargent warmly credited Mrs. Compton’s arborist inclinations.

“I take much pleasure in naming this tree, which is one of the handsomest American oaks, for Miss C. C. Compton, of Natchez, who has worked industriously to make it possible for me to understand it, and who has greatly aided the Arboretum by gathering material of the woody plants of Adams County, Mississippi.”

The Compton oak is an extremely fast grower with a central leader and radially spreading branches. Once predominately found in wooded areas of Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, it’s has virtually-disappeared in Texas and several of the grand old specimens in New Orleans, Louisiana fell victim to Hurricane Katrina’s wrath.

David Bagwell Company is doing its part to gradually return the Compton oak to Texas by planting it in his Colleyville developments and other public spaces. A large Compton oak will be planted at Bransford Elementary School as the centerpiece of this year’s Arbor Day Give Away festivities. Last year, Bagwell kicked off the month-long celebration of Arbor Day by donating and planting an 18-foot tall Compton oak at Glenhope Elementary School.

The Tall Tale of the Christmas Oak

  At over six feet tall, David Bagwell serves as an excellent point of reference for the Christmas oak that now doubles him in height.

Our story begins in the spring of 2005 at David Bagwell Company’s first ever Tree Jamboree. Since that time, the “Free Tree Jamboree” has been moved to the fall and in its place the Arbor Day Give Away has put down roots. Nevertheless, at this inaugural event held in the Bagwell-developed Ashmore neighborhood, a Brook Meadows couple received a pint size ‘Christmas Oak’ standing no more than 12 inches in height. Quercus shumardi, as the scientists call it, is our a native Shumard Oak, distinguished by its large, globe-like size at maturity, moderate growth rate, and often stirring red or maroon fall color. The particular variety of Shumard Oak that Bagwell offered has the unusual characteristic of maintaining its spring and summer aspect of dark green leaves that remain that way until nearly Christmas, long after all other trees have lost their leaves. Then, their leaves turn a vibrant red and gradually fall off. The Brook Meadows couple was made aware of these noteworthy attributes, but would be pleasantly surprised by their tree’s unexpectedly rapid development.

Over the next four years, the tenacious little tree experienced a seemingly never-ending growth spurt to reach its current height of over 12 feet. That’s right: from 12 inches to 12 feet in just four years! It’s likely the result of a perfect storm of horticultural factors. For starters, the slightly acidic, typically sandy soil of the Eastern Cross Timbers that runs through Colleyville is extremely hospital for a variety of trees, oaks included. Then there’s the fact that Shumards are a genetically robust species. But the real secret to this tree’s success can be found in the way it was planted and how the couple cared for it.

“Our sylvan friends took their little tree home and followed our planting instructions precisely,” Bagwell relates. “They selected a appropriate location, used the fertilizer packet and tree shelter we provided and, most importantly, gave the tree adequate but not too much water. In its early stages of growth, the tree shelter not only served to protect the tree from hot summer winds and “lawnmower disease”, as it’s designed to do, but also engulfed the tree creating a greenhouse effect that caused it grow up toward the sunlight at the top of the tube-like shelter. Whatever the underlying causes, its growth has been remarkable. It stands as a testament to Colleyville’s extraordinary tree-growing potential and how much just a little investment in tree planting will pay off in long lasting beauty.”