Seedling Sales and Giveaways in Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.
$30 for both packages.
The Shrub and Small Tree Package ($17.50) consists of two each of American Wild Plum, Paw Paw, American Elderberry, Black Chokeberry and American Hazelnut. The Tree Package ($12.50) includes two each of Flowering Dogwood, American Persimmon and Common Hackberry. Order Feb 1 - April 2, pick up April 5 or 6.
For free seedlings, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seedling giveaways to students in the Dominion Power catchment area: www.projectplantit.com in the fall.
Prince William County 4-H is offering tree seedlings (Silky Dogwood, Sawtooth 'gobler' Oak, and American Sycamore) to youth educators for planting projects in the community. For details, email Aperry2@pwcgov.org.
Arlington Tree Stewards and Parks and Recreation give away free trees in the fall to Arlington residents. In addition, the Tree Canopy Fund accept applications in the late fall for the plantings the following year.
Arbor Day Foundation
For a $10 membership fee, receive 10 flowering tree seedlings.
Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District. Orders through April 10, pickup April 12 and 13.
Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District. Pickup March 22 and March 23.
What to plant, and how to plant them
Starting with seedlings is the best way to obtain healthy plants, but these babies need careful attention for the first couple years. General planting instructions can be found here. A few points need emphasizing:
Get bare root plants into the ground right away. If that is impossible, heal it in temporarily.
Water. Be careful not to overwater, but it is essential to give the roots a deep soaking every 7-10 days for at least the first growing season. (Once established, and if sited correctly, native plants do not need supplemental watering.)
Clear the ground. When planting in lawn (which is a great idea, given that lawns are worse than useless to the ecosystem), you need to kill the grass first. Popular methods include digging it up, or smothering it with cardboard or newspaper covered by mulch. Do not let the mulch touch the plant, though! Cardboard works well but complicates watering until it decomposes - see point #2.
Protect from critters. It is sad to pay a visit to your plant and find no trace of it. Deer, rabbits, and voles may do it in. ‘Repellex tablets’ planted with the plant are said make it taste bad to deer and rabbits. Regular spraying with repellants are wise until the plant is established. A circle of wire fencing will protect it from deer (and can protect it from rabbits if it is sunk into the ground). If you are planting in a very natural environment, you could consider planting in pots to allow the trees to get bigger for a year or two. This is not ideal - transplanting is hard on trees - but it allows you to protect them from animals better. You will need to be extra careful about watering.
Choose the right site. Trees create shade, but many of them won’t grow in the shade! For instance, Redbuds and Pawpaws are shade tolerant, but the seedlings of many other trees in the forest will have to wait years or decades for an opening in the canopy before they start shooting up. Shortleaf pine requires full sun. Check out light and moisture requirements here.
Red Osier Dogwood
Oak: Willow Oak, Black, Chestnut, Northern Red, Pin, Southern Red, White