Baby Me Tree

Hey you tree huggers, stop squeezing and actually raise one!

A brigade of strangers firing up chainsaws in your back yard was already an ominous sight. It only got worse when your property was left looking like a hurricane had just blown through. Orange trees eliminated, grapefruits gone. The citrus canker killers didn't mean any harm. They were just following orders. And now you -- and a million other South Florida homeowners -- demand reparations. The Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management has been providing just that with its Adopt-a-Tree program. The aim: Increase the county's paltry ten-percent tree cover. Nineteen different species of trees have already been distributed at several giveaways held around the county. To qualify, potential parents must own property in Miami-Dade (bring ID containing name and address). Renters must have written permission from their landlord and ample space to plant. Up to two trees can be adopted. This Saturday close to 2800 -- among them carambola (starfruit), pigeon plum, jackfruit, and longan -- will be looking to go to good homes. A particularly peevish jackfruit answered a few questions.

New Times:What makes you so irresistible?

Jackfruit:Well, I do more than just offer shade and help reduce energy costs. I soak up rainwater and beautify land, thereby raising its value. I provide a home for animals and play space for kids. I also grow fast and produce the largest tree-borne fruit (up to 36 inches long and 20 inches in diameter) in the world -- wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Alvaro Diaz-Rubio

Details

Takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, September 14, Admission is free. Call 305-468-5900 or see www.miamidade.gov/adoptatree.
The Miami-Dade Fairgrounds, Arnold Hall, 10921 SW 24th St.

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What's the best way to keep you happy?

Plant me in full sun, at least 30 feet away from power lines and 16 feet away from your house. And water me, damnit! I need a drink when you plant me and for an entire year after. Don't fertilize me for six months and for God's sake, keep those pruning shears away from me for at least a year.

Do you have any desire to be reunited with your biological parents?

Uh, no. I'm a politically correct tree, created in some random nursery and given away by the government. Plus, I wouldn't want to offend my adopted family.

To loosely quote Barbara Walters, who supposedly once asked Katharine Hepburn this question: "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"

I AM a tree! Is that supposed to be funny, sister? Watch it!

 
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