Free trees for Southeast Texas

Free trees for Southeast Texas

Are you ready for this year’s Annual Tree Giveaway? Save some plastic bags or little cardboard boxes and plan on heading out to the Jack Brooks Regional Airport on Feb. 20 from 9-11 a.m. Volunteers from Jefferson County Master Gardener group will be on hand ready to give you your trees.

Campbell Forestry Group has its local headquarters in Silsbee. Each winter, they give away thousands of young trees from their East Texas nurseries. These trees are free to the public. This annual tree give away is a goodwill gesture to beautify Southeast Texas and surrounding areas.

Glen Watz, local owner of Culinary Adventures, master gardener and spokesperson for the annual Tree Giveaway, says, “We are still trying to replace the local tree canopy from recent hurricanes and drought. The seedlings are one year old and given away bare-rooted.” 

Jefferson Country Master Gardeners have assisted with this hardwood tree giveaway for three years. Thank you, Master Gardeners!

The cute little mini-trees range in size from 2-5 inches. Requests for multiple trees are granted, according to Glen. You can have as many as a dozen. Planting and growing instructions are distributed when you pick up your trees. This year’s varieties are Shumard oak, cherrybark oak, sawtooth oak, Nuttall oak, green ash, eastern redbud and bald cypress.

Mature Shumard oak trees typically reach heights of 80-115 feet and a yardstick wide in diameter, one of the largest of the oak species in the red oak group. Cherry bark oak is fast growing and a highly valued red oak in the southern U.S. They often attain heights of 110-130 feet with diameter of 1-2 yardsticks. They grow easily on most sites. The sawtooth oak is native to eastern Asia. It is a medium sized deciduous tree that grows 80-90 feet tall. Nuttall oak grows easily on bottomlands on our Gulf Coast reaching heights of 40-60 feet with a pyramidal shape. It is a “newer” tree that combines good qualities of other oaks.

Green ash is a medium sized tree that also is easy to grow. Eastern redbud is a small, lovely tree with purple blooms in spring and summer. Bald cypress is a deciduous conifer that would prefer saturated or frequently wet soil. It soars to heights from 80-110 feet.

These are just little tidbits of info on each tree but lots more information is easy to find on Texas A&M Horticulture website. Please remember to do just a little research into what trees would work best for you.

According to Jeff Earl of Campbell Global, 80,217 tree seedlings will be given away in their combined regions of Texas and Louisiana this year alone. Call Peggy at (409-835-8461) at the Texas Agri-Life Extension Agency if you have further questions.

Join foundation in February and receive 10 free redbud trees

Anyone from Texas who joins the Arbor Day Foundation in February 2015 will receive 10 free Eastern redbud trees to plant when the weather turns warm.

The free trees are part of the nonprofit Foundation’s Trees for America campaign.

“Redbuds will help beautify Texas for many years to come,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “They will also add to the proud heritage of Texas’ existing Tree City USA communities.”

The Tree City USA program has supported community forestry throughout the country for more than 35 years.

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting, between March 1 and May 31, with enclosed planting instructions. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow, or they will be replaced free of charge.

Members also receive a subscription to the Foundation’s bimonthly publication, Arbor Day, and “The Tree Book,” which contains information about planting and care.

To become a member of the Foundation and receive the free trees, send a $10 contribution to Ten Free Eastern Redbud Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, by Feb. 28, or visit