Would you like to help the birds and butterflies but have a limited budget for landscaping? What the living world needs right now from Northern Virginians is for us to plant native plants, and lots of them. Luckily, we can obtain seedlings of several kinds of trees and shrubs at a bargain price – or even for free.
The familiar Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a lovely example of the opportunity afforded by planting native tree seedlings. Like all trees, transplanting a Redbud when it is very young results in a healthy, full-grown specimen at least as quickly as if you spent $75 on a larger specimen. (In fact, this species in particular objects to being transplanted when it is older.) The result is not only a lavender mist of ephemeral beauty but a source of food for pollinators in April and for songbirds in the fall and winter.
There are some tricks to planting seedlings. The Plant NOVA Natives website has advice for success and a list of where to find sales and giveaways in your area. In many jurisdictions, now is the time to place your order. For instance, you can get 16 bare-root seedlings for only $28.90 from the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. This plants in this year’s package were chosen for their deer resistance. Check out our video for a preview.