More than 5,000 trees and grass seedlings are available at the 26th annual Festival of Trees

More than 5,000 trees and grass seedlings are available at the 26th annual Festival of Trees

The 26th annual Festival of Trees will be held Jan. 19-20 at Independence Mall, where more than 5,000 trees and grasses will be available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. (Courtesy NHC)

New Hanover County – Looking to update your landscape? Free trees and grasses are available later in the month.

The 26th annual Tree Fest will be held on January 19 and 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or while supplies last, at the Independence Mall inside the J.C. Penney Corridor.

Households can choose up to five trees or herbs from a selection of over 5,000 trees or herbs available; A donation of $5 is suggested. All are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Planting a tree today leaves a legacy for your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” Cindy Fisher, a founding member of the TreeFest committee, said in a press release. “Trees provide a variety of benefits to our community, including flood protection, improving water and air quality, providing shade and oxygen, and providing food and nesting sites for birds and wildlife. It is important that we continue to improve our local canopy with a variety of trees that support our entire ecosystem.”

Species available include longleaf pine, water tupelo, red maple, river birch, flowering dogwood, silky dogwood, sugarwood, yellow poplar, hickory hickory, eastern redbud, mulberry, wild apple, and swamp chestnut oak. Indian grass, little blue grass, wire grass, and big blue grass will also be available.

The trees, grown by the North Carolina Forest Service nursery in Goldsboro, are all bare-rooted and should be planted as soon as possible. To reduce single-use plastics, the TreeFest committee is asking participants to bring their own leak-proof bag or bucket to take their seedlings home.

Experts will be on site to help select plants and provide information needed to care for them. Before selecting trees, residents are encouraged to consider the size of the site, whether utility lines are located above and below ground, proximity to buildings, and site conditions such as soil type, drainage, and sun exposure.

The Festival of Trees began in 1997 after Hurricanes Bertha and Fran devastated local tree populations. Since its establishment, more than 100,000 tree seedlings have been distributed to residents of the area.

Also participating in the Tree Fest investigation are the City of Wilmington, Friends of Wilmington Skateparks, Independence Mall, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, North Carolina Forest Service, New Hanover County Soil and Water Conservation District, and UNCW Environmental Sciences, Biology and Marine Biology. .

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