The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is offering free tree seedlings to schools, and it is selling tree and shrub seedlings for conservation plantings on private and public lands.
The DEC operates the State Tree Nursery in Saratoga Springs.
Seedlings for schools
Free tree seedlings are available to any school: public, private or parochial; nursery, elementary, secondary, vocational, college or university. Any school-sponsored organization is also eligible.
Spruce and pine are available. Only one species may be ordered, and 50 seedlings of that species will be given to each participating school.
DEC encourages planting on school property so that students can be responsible for the care and protection of the seedlings. Other possible locations for planting are parks, roadsides, public buildings and nursing homes. You will need 1,800 square feet of open space for 50 seedlings. Each tree needs a growing space of about 6 feet in diameter.
For schools where planting space is limited, an Urban Wildlife Packet is available. This contains 30 seedlings of shrubs that attract different songbirds, as well as a variety of other wildlife. These should be planted 6 feet apart and require only 900 square feet of open space.
Seedlings for conservation
You can also buy tree and shrub seedlings for conservation on public or private land. You must purchase the seedlings in quantities of 25 or more. A variety of species is available.
Orders for seedlings can be placed through mid-May by calling (518) 587-1120, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is the recommended way to order since the operator will be able to answer questions or direct you to the proper office for information if you need help. You can also order by mail.
Photo from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.