Water Blog

News, notes and thoughts from Blue Water Baltimore.

Treat Yourself To A Free Tree

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We hope you’re as excited about spring as we are, and about our upcoming free tree giveaways! From White Oak to Witch Hazel, we believe there’s a native tree out there for everyone. But only if you act fast – free trees will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and sadly not all trees will be available at every giveaway. Not to worry though – all trees can be purchased at Herring Run Nursery if we run out. Remember to avoid planting close to utilities, and to choose a location that maximizes shade and reduces runoff. See below for our giveaway calendar and in-depth description of all the trees we offer.

Upcoming Giveaways:

April 21st – Highlandtown

April 22nd – Herring Run Nursery

April 29th – Towson

May 14th – Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park

May 20th – Herring Run Nursery – Part II

Trees of All Sizes

Smaller trees:

Service Berry

15-25’ high, 15-20’ spread

This deciduous tree is gorgeous in spring and fall. It has a bouquet of white flowers in a cluster, produces fruit for the birds and for us, and has outstanding fall color. It can be multi-stemmed and more shrub like or trained to be a small single stem tree. Great planted as a border or under a powerline. In full sun it produces more fruit – best for average to moist soil.

Witch Hazel

12-20’ tall and wide, irregular open crown

This small tree is great for small spaces and shadier locations. Witch hazel flowers in the fall, its yellow flowers are slightly fragrant and unique in shape. During fall its leaves turn a gorgeous shade of yellow. It is normally multi-stemmed with smooth grey bark.

Sweetbay Magnolia

15-25’ tall, and 10-20’ wide, upright

In Maryland, Sweetbay is semi-evergreen to deciduous. This small, narrow tree has gorgeous cream-white fragrant flowers in late Spring. Great for wet to moist areas but adaptable to drier sites and can grow in shade to sun.

Medium trees:

River Birch

30-50’ high, 20-30’ spread, Oval shape

This birch can have multiple trunks and makes an attractive landscaping tree. Its shreddie, peally bark adds visual interest. It has fewer problems if purchased as a single trunk. This tree is a fast grower and turns golden in the fall. Best for average to moist soils.

Persimmon

35-50’ tall, 20-35’ wide, Oval shape

This medium shade tree is drought tolerant and able to withstand a variety of soils. It produces a small fruit at maturity that is astringent until ripe. It has a yellow to reddish purple fall color. Plant in the sun. Lots of animals love the fruit of persimmon and act like Johnny Persimmonseed in the dispersal of its seeds.

Eastern Red Cedar

30-50’ tall and 10-20’ wide, pyramidal shape

An excellent specimen evergreen tree that can be used for screening, hedges, or off by itself. Its columnar shape allows for smaller spaces and its variety in color is a surprise, from blue grey to brown and then bright green to green yellow. Best not to plant near serviceberries as they exchange the cedar apple rust. Another sunbather.

Large trees:

Sycamore

75-100’ tall and potentially wide, irregular shape

A large tree with a gorgeous trunk of white, mottled bark at maturity. Fast growing tree that deserves a large space to spread its limbs. A tough tree that tolerates a wide variety of soils and wants lots of sun to grow big and strong.

White Oak

50-80’ tall and wide, pyramidal to rounded

The state tree of Maryland, this long-lived tree can span centuries. This slow grower shines with age. Fall foliage varies from brown to rich reddish, purple and lasts a good while. Prefers moist, well drained acidic soils.

Pin Oak

40-60’ high, 30-50’ spread, Pyramidal shape

This oak is a very common shade tree. It is strong and upright and grows pretty quick. One way to tell it apart from other oaks in winter is its branching pattern. The lower third branches point down, the middle third are parallel, and the upper third point upward. This tree is happy planted in your yard or along the street. When younger it keeps some of its leaves in winter. Has larger acorns.

Bald Cypress

40-60’ high, 20-30’ spread, Oval shape

This deciduous evergreen is very adaptable to moist soils. It will grow in standing water but does thrives in normal soils, and is narrow in shape so it can be planted in smaller spaces. This tree is long lived with beautiful bright orange fall color. It has soft needles that drape towards the ground. It is happy as a street tree and in your yard.

Bur Oak

70-80’ tall and wide, pyramidal to oval

Another long lived, slow growing oak, the bur oak has fuzzy acorns that distinguishes it from other oaks. It is adaptable to a variety of soils and is drought tolerant once established. It is a large tree that should be given room to spread its branches and room to sunbathe.  

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