Arbor Day was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1872. Its creator, J. Sterling Morton, had dreamt of a holiday that allowed others to share in his love of trees. The concept worked, and Arbor Day inspired people around the country to plant trees and celebrate their importance. Luckily, you don't always have to buy trees to plant every last Friday in April — not if you can find out which organizations might be giving away free trees near you this Arbor Day.
Where to find free trees this Arbor Day:
Arbor Day takes place on April 30, 2021, and there are several ways to get in on the tree planting without having to spend a ton. After all, it's not as if money grows on trees. Here are a few solid ways to get free trees this Arbor Day.
Become a member of the Arbor Day Foundation.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation website, those who sign up for membership (which costs $10) will be rewarded with 10 free trees. Members can choose from many varieties and select 10 trees that typically grow in their climate. Once the tree species have been selected, the Arbor Day Foundation will mail members their 6-to-12-inch trees to plant in their yards; for those who don’t want all the trees themselves, the foundation will send the remaining number to a friend.
This is honestly the best method for getting free trees out there today, and it directly supports an organization whose main intentions are fighting for trees wherever it finds them threatened.
Plan or join a tree planting event.
According to The Spruce, if you have a group of people that want to plant trees in your community but don’t have the trees themselves, you can reach out to charitable organizations like the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and apply for them to send you native tree seedlings. Oftentimes, organizations like the NWF will also send additional resources to help organize and run a community planting event.
Shop at hardware stores or garden centers.
Every so often, if you’re lucky, hardware and garden stores might get involved in the Arbor Day festivities by offering deals, offers, or free giveaways. Sadly, the still looming pandemic of 2021 has put something of a kibosh on any of these deals from large retailers Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace Hardware, and others. Smaller, local nurseries may have their own promotions, however, and even if they aren’t free, you might be able to find seedlings at a discount during the eco holiday season.
Contact local governments or parks departments.
The best way to start the ball rolling on this is to call your local municipality, or check its website, and find out what they are doing for Arbor Day. Find out if your town has any free tree programs going on, or if there are any local planting activities planned. Local municipalities will often give out trees to interested citizens on Arbor Day. This isn’t always the case, though — not even in Nebraska City, Nebr., the very birthplace of Arbor Day!
Separate organizations, often affiliated with government entities might have solutions for this, however. According to The Spruce, LA-based City Plants, either delivers plants to your home or will come by to plant them on your street if you need assistance. At the same time, even if you can’t get trees from your local government, many municipalities are offering suggestions on fun Arbor Day activities, even in the midst of the pandemic.
The New York State website suggests that, short of planting new trees, homeowners can inspect the trees in their own backyards to make sure that they are healthy and free of cracks, wilting, fungus, or broken branches. Eco-conscious individuals can even take to the local parks and streets, picking up trash and admiring all the trees around them.
"Plant a Billion Trees."
The Nature Conservancy is dedicated to planting a billion trees across the planet. The organization’s appropriately named "Plant a Billion Trees" campaign collects donations which it then uses to help fight deforestation. If you can’t find a way to get any free trees this Arbor Day, if you can’t join a planting celebration, and you still want to help, remember that you could always donate to a worthy conservation charity, such as the Arbor Day Foundation. That way, at least the trees will still get planted on your behalf.