The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's annual spring seedling sale at the Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery is open to the public and runs until May 13. Each year, the nursery offers low-cost, New York-grown tree and shrub species for sale to encourage conservation plantings and foster the next generation of forests.
"The DEC tree nursery in Saratoga grows stock on-site from local seed sources, creating seedlings well-suited to New York’s climate," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Widely used for reforestation and conservation efforts across the state, these seedlings fulfill a vital niche in the conservation of our natural resources.”
There are many environmental, economic, and social reasons to plant trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making them a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Trees also lower heating and cooling costs, provide food and shelter for native wildlife, improve water quality by filtering runoff, prevent erosion, and increase overall public health and well-being.
There are more than 50 conifer and hardwood species available in bundles of 25 or more, plus several mixed species packets for those looking for a variety. Seedlings are a minimum of 5” tall and one to three years old depending on species. For more information including how to order, visit the Spring Seedling Sale on DEC's website at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/9395.html. Some species sell out early, so it is recommended to place orders by phone for the most up-to-date availability information.
Free seedlings available for youth education
In addition, DEC is now accepting applications for the nursery’s School Seedling Program. From now until March 31, schools and youth education organizations across New York state may apply to receive up to 50 free tree or shrub seedlings to plant with their students.
The goal of the program is to help instill a sense of environmental stewardship at a young age and set a foundation that will allow students to make informed decisions about the use of natural resources. The program is an excellent tool for educators to use in meeting the Next Generation Science Standards as it provides a hands-on opportunity for students to learn about natural systems and the valuable role that trees play, while building their awareness of conservation issues.
All schools (public, private, nursery, elementary, secondary, vocational, college or university), homeschool groups, and any youth education-based organization may apply, provided trees are planted within New York State. Seedlings are two to three years old, about four to 12 inches tall, and bare-root. There are three packets available – 50 white spruce, 50 white pine, or 30 mixed shrub species good for wildlife habitat – and each school or organization may only receive one packet per year.
Visit DEC’s website for more information or to apply online. For assistance or questions, contact the Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery at email@example.com or 518-581-1439.