OAKLEY -- Hug a tree ... or better yet, learn how to care for it.

That's the message the city of Oakley is conveying with two free presentations on tree maintenance that it's offering the public next month.

With the help of state bond funds, the city's Parks and Landscape Division is promoting the benefits of "urban greening" -- among them higher property values, cleaner air and a prettier city -- by teaching people how to keep trees healthy.

The first workshop is 7 p.m. Nov. 6 at Oakley City Hall, 3231 Main St., where a professional arborist will show participants how to choose the best tree and plant it the right way in the proper spot.

The second class will be at 7 p.m. the next day -- Nov. 7 -- at City Hall, and will provide the basics of pruning trees: When to do it, how to cut a branch the right way, and how to stake saplings correctly.

-- Rowena Coetsee