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Black Hills Energy celebrates Earth Day with free trees


Last updated 4/23/2020 at 12:27pm

Photos Courtesy the Arbor Day Foundation

The Blue Spruce is the official state tree of Colorado. This evergreen can grow to 75 feet in most landscapes and up to 135 feet in the wild.

While social distancing is keeping us away from each other, we can fortunately still be in touch with nature. Planting a tree is a great way to spend time in the great outdoors while looking toward the future, which is why this Earth Day, Black Hills Energy is giving away more than 1,000 free trees. Customers can claim a tree through our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation's Energy-Saving Trees Initiative beginning on Wednesday, April 22.

Trees clean our air and water, improve physical and mental health, and beautify our world. They also help us save energy, as a strategically-placed tree can save a homeowner up to 20 percent on energy costs.

A free tree can be reserved on a first come, first served basis at The 3- to 4-foot-tall dormant trees will be delivered directly to customers for spring planting from May through early June, and are small enough that they can be planted by an individual, allowing for social distancing to continue to be maintained. 

"Our world is hurting right now," said Susan Bailey, Black Hills Energy's vice president of Colorado gas operations. "We feel like we have an opportunity to give our customers a small way to help it heal. Our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation in the Energy-Saving Trees program offers us the opportunity to promote the cleaner air, energy savings and other valuable benefits you gain by planting the right tree in the right place. This is also an opportunity to look forward to better days ahead, as the tree and its many benefits take root."

Since beginning the program six years ago, 6,686 trees have been planted through the partnership, and the benefits continue to grow as the trees do. In addition to energy savings, trees improve air quality, reduce stormwater runoff, reduce the urban heat island effect, and beautify the area around them. 

Black Hills Energy customers can use the handy online tool at to quickly determine where to plant a tree to gain the most energy-saving benefits.

"Strategically planted trees block the hot summer sun and cold winter winds to help cut energy usage without sacrificing comfort," Bailey said.

Black Hills is also delivering a safety message: At least two business days before you plan to dig, whether you are a homeowner planting a tree or a contractor excavating with a backhoe, Call Before You Dig to have underground utility lines marked. It's free, it's safe and it's the law. In Colorado, just make a free call by dialing 811 to reach Colorado 811. You also can schedule online at

Bailey also urges customers to follow the safe digging practices listed at Those include using white spray-paint to mark the area where you plan to dig before line locaters arrive.

"Underground utility lines may be out of sight, but they should never be out of mind," Bailey said. "It only takes a minute to Call Before You Dig, and it can save untold time and trouble. Please follow the rules and dig safely. We want you and your family to enjoy your new tree for a long, long time."

Celebrate Arbor Day

National Arbor Day is April 24 this year. While in years past this was a time for volunteer opportunities and community events for all ages, current CDC recommendations for COVID-19 make this year very different. But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate!

The spirit of Arbor Day is still strong, and below you will find resources and ideas that will help you rally your community around trees this spring.

Looking for ways you can celebrate at home with your family this year?

Check out the Arbor Day Foundation's blog post on 6 Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day In a Time of Social Distancing and more ideas at!

Each state celebrates Arbor Day on a unique date, although most are in April. In Colorado, it's the third Friday in April (so it was April 17 this year).

The state tree: Colorado Blue Spruce

A magnificent sight of silver blue-green spruce. Rated one of the most popular evergreens. It grows well while young and matures at 50-75 feet; 10-20-foot spread in the landscape, up to 135 feet and 35-foot spread in the wild. (zones 2-7)

Wildlife Value

Photos Courtesy the Arbor Day Foundation

The details of the pine needles and cones on a Blue Spruce are shown in this close-up.

This spruce provides food and shelter for siskins, nuthatches and crossbills.


The Colorado blue spruce is such a delight that nature seems to have kept it a well-guarded secret for a very long time. It was not until 1862 that this spectacular species was discovered growing in enchanted meadows and stream sides high up in the Rocky Mountains. Once found, the fame of this blue spruce spread quickly, and today it is one of our most widely planted landscape trees as well as the state tree of Colorado. When writing Handbook on Conifers in 1969, Henry Tuescher, curator emeritus of the Montreal Botanical Garden, called the Colorado blue spruce one of the five finest conifers. Tuescher gave no reasons for this honor except for the tree's exceptional beauty.

-from the Arbor Day Foundation


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