Where to Get a Free Tree for Earth Day
In Celebration of Arbor Day and Earth Day, there are multiple tree giveaways happening throughout Manatee County, Sarasota County and Venice on Saturday, April 22.
Why order a tree? Trees provide a wide variety of benefits to the local environment including temperature moderation, taming stormwater, increasing happiness and lessening the impacts of climate change.
Here's where to get yours.
City of Bradenton
Trees can be ordered for mailing delivery on a first-come, first-served basis through the Arbor Day Foundation's map site during the month of April. The following trees are available in a 1-gallon size, and they will be delivered three to five weeks after selection. Each tree comes with planting and care instructions. Available varieties are bald cypress, crape myrtle, dahoon holly and sweetbay magnolia. You can also choose to pick up trees at at Palmetto High School between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. In addition to the 1-gallon trees available for delivery, 3-gallon trees of the following varieties are available: live oak, bald cypress, Tropic Snow or Tropic Beauty peach, Florida Prince peach and Dura Heat birch.
Do you live in Manatee County but not the City of Bradenton proper?
You can get a free tree, too. County residents can pick up slash pines, sweetbay magnolias and black cherry trees at Palmetto High School on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., as well. For both the Bradenton and Manatee giveaway, visit the UF/IFAS Extension website or call the Master Gardener Plant Clinic at (941) 722-4524.
Another tree giveaway event, hosted by the UF/IFAS extension, will take place in Sarasota at Twin Lakes Park off Clark Road. At the "Florida-Friendly Landscaping: Planting Trees for the Suncoast" event on Saturday, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., participants will not only learn about Florida-friendly trees that thrive in our area but will also receive a native tree, one per household, for only $3. eventbrite.com
Venice City Arborist and Arboretum volunteers will offer a tree giveaway along with proving information about trees, butterfly gardens, composting and rain barrels from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, at the Monty Andrews Arboretum in West Blalock Park. There also will be children’s activities, including a Tinkergarten and a nature scavenger hunt. venicegov.com
Tips for Planting Your Tree
Here are six tips for making sure your new tree thrives.
Call before you dig.
Several days before planting, call the 811 hotline to have underground utilities located to make sure you're not disrupting them.
Handle with care.
Always lift the tree by the root ball. Keep the roots moist until the tree is planted.
Dig a proper hole.
Dig two to five times wider than the diameter of the root ball, with sloping sides to allow for proper root growth.
Place at the right depth.
The tree's trunk flare should sit slightly above the ground level, and the topmost roots should be buried one to two inches.
Fill the hole.
Backfill with native soil unless it's all clay. Tamp in the soil gently to fill large air spaces.
Allow a one to two-inch clearance between the trunk and the mulch. The mulch should be two to three inches deep.