Tree Seedling Giveaways: Species Information and Planting Instructions


Did you stop by one of our tree seedling giveaways this Arbor Day? Check out the species information, from our friends at the Arbor Day Foundation, below for more information about your new tree!

Eastern Redbud

“Native to North America and Canada with cousins in Europe and Asia, this tree was noted by Spaniards who made distinctions between the New World species and their cousins in the Mediterranean region in 1571. Centuries later, George Washington reported in his diary on many occasions about the beauty of the tree and spent many hours in his garden transplanting seedlings obtained from the nearby forest. It was chosen as the state tree of Oklahoma in 1937.” –Arbor Day Foundation


Baldcypress trees are native from Maryland along the eastern coast to Texas and as far west as the Mississippi valley. The first scientific reference to the species was made in 1640. The origin of the common name, however, seems to have been lost to time. No one is sure why it is called “bald” (though many guesses have been made).

This tree has inspired much poetry and prose over the centuries due to its melancholy and mysterious appearance. Longfellow refers to its “towering and tenebrous boughs” that “waved like banners that hang on the walls of ancient cathedrals” in his 1847 poem, Evangeline. Naturalist John Muir in his book Thousand-Mile Walk refers to “the dark, mysterious cypress woods which cover everything” and states that “night is coming on and I am filled with indescribable loneliness.”

It is the state tree of Louisiana. –Arbor Day Foundation

Swamp White Oak

“As the name suggests, this oak is found growing wild in low-lying and swampy areas — often moist bottomlands or river banks. But it grows just as well in an urban or suburban setting, with tolerance to compacted soil and (perhaps surprisingly) drought. The swamp white oak is a great choice for a shade or street tree, with the ability to grow at a moderate pace and live more than 300 years. It’s the kind of tree you plant for not only your enjoyment but for the benefit of generations to come.” –Arbor Day Foundation

Shadblow Serviceberry

“Shadblow serviceberry got its common name because it fruits in June “when the shad (a northern fish) run.” All the serviceberries make good small landscape trees or multistemmed shrubs. Serviceberry is a common understory tree in southeastern forests of North America. The wood of serviceberry is among the heaviest in the U.S., and would be more valuable if the trees grew larger. Shadblow serviceberry flowers about one week later than A. arborea, downy serviceberry. Serviceberry’s fruit is used to make pies and sweetbreads and can be dried like raisins. Cherokees used serviceberry tea to aid digestion, and children who had worms were given baths in serviceberry tea. Native Americans used the tree’s straight wood to make arrow shafts. Francois Michaux wrote of serviceberries being available in Philadelphia markets, but only children bought them. Serviceberries have good fall color and the bark is grayish and ornamental. It becomes ridged and furrowed as the tree ages. Shadblow serviceberry is an excellent choice for a naturalized garden, where it can spread naturally by suckering. It also makes an attractive specimen plant or can be used in front of an evergreen background.”
Department of Horticulture


It is very important to keep your new tree moist and to plant it as soon as possible.

  1. Before you plant, pick an ideal location. Thing about how large your tree will grow and how close it may be to your house, sidewalk or utilities.
  2. Dig a hole wide and deep enough to easily fit all of the roots without bending or forcing them into place (which is very harmful to trees). Make sure only the roots go below ground and that the trunk and root flare are above ground!
  3. Using your hands, gently firm the soil back around the roots making sure not to overly compact the soil.
  4. Add leaf compost and/or natural mulch around the base of your tree and extending out a few inches further than the branches. Do not pile the mulch up the trunk like a volcano!
  5. Most importantly, make sure to water your new tree every week during the growing season so the roots stay moist. Doing this until the tree is established, will help ensure it survives and grows.


A growing body of research and documentation validates the critical role that a robust urban tree canopy plays in providing residents with an environment that contributes to their health and economic well-being as well as helping to meet the many environmental and ecological challenges that impact their daily lives.

Cleveland was once nicknamed The Forest City, but the city has lost significant canopy. Tree canopy cover is low at 19%, only one quarter of what is possible. Each year an estimated 97 acres of tree canopy is lost. At this rate, canopy will drop to 14% by 2040 unless we act now. It is time to rebuild the urban forest, together.

The Cleveland Tree Plan is a community-wide collaboration to rebuild the urban forest through partnership. Stakeholders have assessed Cleveland’s urban forest and are now determining a unified vision and plan of action to reforest the Forest City.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy is a proud member of the Cleveland Tree Coalition, a collaborative group of public, private and community stakeholders that have partnered with the City of Cleveland to rebuild our urban forest. Stakeholders are working collaboratively to achieve the goals established by the Cleveland Tree Plan. Together, we’re making Cleveland the Forest City once again!

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