Twenty-eight people converged on Leo Royal Park Saturday morning for a tree planting.

Boasting the largest group to ever assist with the task, it was the first fall planting held by the Gretna Arbor Society (Tree Board), which usually hosts an annual planting each spring.

The board had leftover funds this year, which allowed them to purchase the 19 deciduous trees planted in a bed on the north side of the park along Lincoln Road.

“ Gretna City Maintenance crews under the direction of Travis Bettenhausen had removed the dead or dying evergreens out of this bed,” said Jim Keepers, Chairperson of the Gretna Arbor Society (Tree Board.) “These trees were in such bad shape, we couldn’t treat them for their disease problems. They also had grown so close together they had a lot of dead limbs.

“ We planted deciduous trees because we had limited funding, evergreens are very expensive, and we could buy enough deciduous trees to fill in the empty spaces in the bed.”

The trees included a variety of oak, crabapple, sycamore, buckeye and maple, and were grown from seeds collected throughout Nebraska, coming from Great Plains Nursery in Weston, Neb.

Members of the Gretna Arbor Society were joined by Scouts from Gretna Troop 363, master gardeners from the Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties, Gretna City Councilman Bill Proctor, Travis Bettenhausen of Gretna City Maintenance and his son Brett, and local Gretna residents and families.

The Arbor Society will host a tree planting in the spring as planned. Spring events also include the 15th annual Gretna Tree Talk and the Arbor Day Poster Contest.

The Gretna Arbor Society (Tree Board) meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Gretna Public Library, 736 South St. All are invited to attend.

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