Spring into Action: 6 Tips for Tree Planting in the Garden State

Cherry blossoms

Spring has sprung and so has tree planting season in The Garden State! Whether you’re planting in your own yard or beautifying a local park, follow these tips to ensure sapling success.

1: Find Your Zone

It is important to know the Hardiness Zone you are planting in to find what kinds of trees thrive in that area, and when to plant them. Most of New Jersey lies in Hardiness Zone 7.

Many varieties of deciduous (shedding leaves) and coniferous (evergreen) trees are native to our state. Some of the most common are: Cherry, Maple, Oak, Dogwood, Magnolia, Birch, Poplar, Pear, Plum, and Pine, to name a few.

Not in Jersey? Look up your zone here.

Cherry trees thrive in Zone 7.

2: Know When to Plant

Many tree species are best planted in the fall, but there are lots that do well when planted in the spring. Cure your spring fever by planting fruit trees, Willow, Dogwood, Magnolia, and Birch in early spring. Many pines and other evergreens can handle a spring start, as well.

A flowering Weeping Cherry Tree in a New Jersey suburb.

3: Find a Tree for Free

Many municipalities offer free trees to residents. For example, the Vineland Environmental Commission will provide free tree seedlings to residents at City Hall on April 1st. The program is part of the New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign.

In addition to the tree seedlings, an instructional session on how to plant and care for the trees will be offered onsite. Find a free pickup location near you here!

4: Plant Properly

Transplanting a tree that was grown in a container isn’t difficult, but there are some important rules to follow to ensure sapling success. Proper care during the first year is equally as important. At a recent planting event, the coordinator carefully demonstrated the basic non-negotiables.

Get step-by-step instructions at arborday.org.

Volunteer Daniil E. follows the instructions given by an American Littoral Society member at a recent tree planting event.

5: Volunteer to Plant in your Community

Don’t have a yard, or just want to help spread spring beauty around the state? Find community plantings and cleanups! “Like” your city’s Facebook page and follow environmentally-friendly organizations for upcoming volunteer opportunities, such as the American Littoral Society and SJ Watersavers. Both host multiple events throughout year.

Volunteer Amber Egorov helped  spruce up Giampietro Park during a recent American Littoral Society/ SJ Watersavers tree planting event.

6: Take a Breath of Fresh Air

After you’ve planted your tree, take a deep breath and enjoy knowing that you’ve contributed to our planet’s future.

Trees not only clean the air and give us oxygen, they improve mental health, reduce stress, and filter waterways. They cool the atmosphere and reverse the effects of climate change. They provide wildlife habitats, lower energy consumption, and increase property values. The benefits of trees are endless, so get out there and plant a tree!

A Cedar tree provides a habitat for a nesting House Finch.

Want to get out and explore this spring? Find a forest near you!

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