Save-A-Seedling Initiative



Do you know of a spot or two where a tree of some type would be a nice addition to the neighborhood?  Maybe a friend with a new house in a new subdivision, or maybe at a creek restoration project?  Here is an idea or initiative - Save-A-Seedling - that  you could do on your own or with a large community group.

There are plenty of esthetic and environmental reasons to plant trees; shade, flowers, fruit, wind and erosion control, carbon sink, wild life habitat, commerce.  The list is long. 

Here's the cool thing, that actually doesn't take any initiative - trees will regenerate on their own.  What is truly amazing is how hard property owners work to limit trees from establishing themselves.  Anyone who has ever done any gardening can attest to how many trees they have pulled out with the weeds, or chopped up with their lawnmower.

This next statement is where you actually have to do something.  Let some of them grow.  Imagine how much greener and healthier a community we would all live in if even a small percentage of people set aside or relocated one tree seedling a year.  Seedlings that germinate in your flower beds or vegetable gardens, and allowed to grow until they are about a foot or two high won't bother you.  When transplanted they add positively to the environment.  One caution here is to avoid transplanting invasive trees, including any cultivars of Norway Maple.

New seedlings set root every year in neighborhood gardens, and since Burlington is located in the northern section of the Carolinian Forest zone, varieties of trees such as Walnut, Butternut, Hickory, the native Black Cherry, Mulberry, or Service Berry, in addition to more common trees like Maples, Oaks, Birch, Apples, Crab Apples, Ash, and coniferous trees like Spruce and Pines set root each spring.

Allowing these seedlings to grow for a season or two, wherever they happen to sprout, until they are a foot or so in height, really does not add much competition to your other plants.  Then transplant them during the following spring while the seedlings are still dormant, and the ground is still soft (just after the frost has thawed).  You can also temporarily plant them into an old pot or whatever container is available.

Moving young seedling while still dormant in the spring results in very little root damage, minimizes the shock of moving, and in many cases yields a tree that will catch up to, and outgrow much larger trees purchased from garden centers.  You will be impressed at how quickly these seedlings will grow.

Just consider; these seedlings are free, they make a great gift, they are easy to plant, and because they are adapted to the local environment, they are easy to take care of.  If you have threatened or rare trees such as Kentucky Coffee Tree, Tulip Tree, or Paw Paw for example, geminating on your property ,  please give these seedling to environmental organizations, such as groups restoring riparian zones along rivers and creeks.   Saving a seedling only takes a little initiative, and each seedling that grows into a tree is another step towards improving our environment.