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We have 1,000 bare root trees to give away for 2024. Comprised of 13 native tree/shrub species, they will arrive to you at 1-3 ft tall and will need to be potted or planted RIGHT AWAY!

 

Order your free trees anytime from

February 10 - March 10

 

Tree Pick-Up

March 13-16

Adriana Hess Wetland Park

2917 Morrison Rd W

University Place, WA

Why are we giving away trees?

The City of Tacoma has a tree canopy of around 20%, the lowest in the entire Puget Sound region, and far less than other major US cities like New York (39%). This has an impact not just on birds and other wildlife, but on people too. Trees provide oxygen as well as absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They increase quality of life for people by providing shade, reducing urban temperatures as we experience the increased effects of climate change and studies have shown trees and nature improve mental health. 

 

We are happy to be partnering with the City of Tacoma to proactively plant 10,000 trees over the next four years to kick start a significant increase in tree canopy in disadvantaged areas within the city.

Why Are Native Trees So Important?

Native trees and shrubs help maintain a proper ecological balance and support a greater biodiversity than non-native trees. They grow more successfully because we know they can thrive within our soil types and climate. ​Native species help maintain soil nutrients, balance native insect populations, and help provide seeds and fruit that our birds rely on for food throughout the year. 

And they're just plain gorgeous in all 4 seasons!!!

What is a bare root tree? Go to planting and care instructions.

Trees available to order for 2024
(click or scroll to learn more)

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Western Red Cedar

  • Appearance: Large evergreen tree with drooping limbs. Grows to 150 to 270 feet tall. Bark peels back from trunk in fibrous strips and is used by many animals for nesting material. Pollinates in spring, cones form and drop in the fall.

  • Growing Needs: Prefers moist soil and climate

  • Attracts: Chestnut-backed chickadees, grosbeaks, sparrows, waxwings, nuthatches and siskins.

  • Dense foliage provides important nest sites for juncos, jays, warblers, and squirrels as well as mature trees provide cavity-nesting opportunities.

10KTrees_Western-Hemlock.jpg

Western Hemlock

  • Appearance: Large evergreen tree that grows to 150-190 feet tall, recognized by its drooping top. Bloom period is March to May, cones mature in August. Cones fall in September and open in October.

  • Growing Needs: Tolerates shade or sun but grows faster in full sun. Soil can be dry to wet.

  • Attracts: Many birds as nesting sites, seeds attract crossbills, pine siskins, chickadees. Porcupines and Douglas squirrels eat the bark, deer and elk eat foliage and twigs.

  • Oldest documented tree is over 1,200 years old

  • Washington State tree

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Noble Fir

  • Appearance: Large evergreen tree that grows to 180 to 270 feet tall. Flowers are cones that mature in early August.

  • Growing Needs: Prefers well-drained soil, full sun to partial shade with at least 4 hours of full sun. Slow growing, sensitive to wind.

  • Attracts: Chickadees, nuthatches, pine siskins, jays. Mammals include Douglas squirrel, mice and black bear.

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Red Alder

  • Appearance: Large deciduous tree that grows to 50-80 feet tall. Flowers – forms catkins in spring before leafing out. Leaves curl under at the edge. Small cones less than 1 inch form and remain on the tree through winter. Produces wing nutlets September through December.

  • Growing Needs: Tolerates a variety of soils from moist to dry, clay to gravel, often found along stream beds.

  • Attracts: Seeds, buds and insects attract mallards, wigeons, grouse, bushtits, kinglets, vireos, warblers, chickadees, redpolls, siskins, and goldfinches. Buds, leaves and twigs attract elk, deer and porcupines, beavers and hares.

  • Used for nesting by warblers, bushtits and sparrows

  • Host to nitrogen fixing bacteria so this species of tree can be used to reclaim clear-cut and otherwise damaged bare ground.

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Big Leaf Maple

  • Appearance: Large deciduous tree that grows up to 100 feet tall. Width can be up to half of height. Blooms in April and May with hanging clusters of yellow-green flowers, and produces double-wing seed pods. Leaves turn yellow and drop in the fall.

  • Growing Needs: Prefers wet soil but will grow in dry soil, sun to partial shade.

  • Attracts: Flowers attract bees and native insects. Seeds, buds and flowers attract house finches, goldfinches, black-headed grosbeaks, crossbills, vireos, and sparrows

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Quaking Aspen

  • Appearance: Medium deciduous tree that grows to 50 feet tall with shallow roots. Typically forms in clumps of trees. Bloom and flowers, catkins appear April to May before the leaves. Flowers on catkins produce cones that split open to release seeds attached to a white silky hair that spread via wind. Fall color, leaves turn bright yellow to red after first frost.

  • Growing Needs: Can grow in a variety of soil conditions, including rocky soil, clay soil, rich soil, or nutrient deficient sandy soil, but grows best in rich, porous soils. Needs to be in the sun or slight shade, does not tolerate full shade.

  • Attracts: ruffed grouse, chickadees, bluebirds, sapsuckers, downy woodpeckers, beavers, deer

  • Host to 287 species of butterflies, moths and skippers which are essential resources for birds.

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Black Hawthorn

  • Appearance: Small deciduous tree that grows well in the understory of larger trees. Grows 3.5 to 20 feet tall, compact, with 2 inch long thorns. Flowers in late spring to early summer with spectacular bell-shaped white flowers. Summer/fall fruit starts out purple and matures to a black color. Berries tend to stay on the tree for a long time. Fall foliage in shades of red, yellow and orange. 

  • Growing Needs: Tolerates moist to dry soil, does well in shade.

  • Flowers Attract: butterflies, moths, pollinators

  • Berries Attract: robins, solitaires, grosbeaks, cedar waxwings, purple finch, wild turkeys, thrushes, band tail pigeons, wood ducks, pheasants, bears, coyotes, foxes

  • Leaves are host to swallowtail butterfly larva

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Vine Maple

  • Appearance: Small deciduous tree, grows to 15 feet tall. Blooms are small reddish flowers in spring. Produces wing-like seed pods in the fall.

  • Growing Needs: Sun or shade, moist soil

  • Flowers Attract: butterflies and bees

  • Seeds Attract: Grosbeaks, woodpeckers, nuthatches, finches, quail and grouse. Deer, mountain beavers and beavers eat the wood and twigs.

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Ocean Spray

  • Appearance: Deciduous shrub that grows to 15 feet tall and almost as wide. Arching branches produce blooms from June to August with white flowers in the shape of a plume. Flowers turn to seeds in the fall.

  • Growing Needs: Partial shade, moist to dry well-drained soil

  • Flowers Attract: Hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, insects

  • Seeds Attract: Bushtits, chickadees, woodpeckers, crows, jays, sparrows

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Red-Flowering Currant

  • Appearance: Deciduous shrub, grows 6-10 feet tall with green leaves. Blooms in early spring with beautiful bright red/pink tubular flowers and produces red/blue late summer berries.

  • Growing Needs: Rocky, well-drained soil

  • Host plant: moth larvae (leaves)

  • Flowers Attract: Hummingbirds and butterflies

  • Berries Attract: Robins, woodpeckers, jays, sparrows, bushtits, tanagers, and cedar waxwings. Fruit also eaten by coyotes, foxes, mountain beavers, raccoons, skunks, squirrels and chipmunks.

  • Twigs and foliage browsed by deer and elk.

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Pacific Ninebark

  • Appearance: Deciduous, multi-stem shrub that grows to 15 feet tall and widens out as it grows in height. Develops brown, shedding bark. White ball-shaped flowers from May to June. Red papery fruits with yellow seeds in the fall.

  • Growing Needs: Sun or shade, moist soil

  • Flowers Attract: Butterflies and bees

  • Berries Attract: Orioles, bluebirds, tanagers, towhees

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Mock Orange (Lewis)

  • Appearance: Deciduous shrub that grows 6-12 feet tall. Blooms with snow white, very fragrant flowers in late spring/early summer. Dry seed capsules disperse seeds starting in September.

  • Growing Needs: sun to part shade, well-drained moist to dry soil

  • Flowers Attract: Butterflies including western tiger swallowtail and common wood nymph

  • Seeds Attract: Grosbeaks, quail, juncos, thrushes, finches, woodpeckers, chickadees, wrens, and squirrels

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Red Osier Dogwood

  • Appearance: Deciduous multi-stemmed shrub that grows 6-8 feet tall with bright red stems. Small white flowers appear in late spring followed by white berries in late summer.

  • Growing Needs: Moist soil, full sun to partial shade.

  • Flowers Attract: Pollinators and butterflies

  • Berries Attract: Robins, quail, pigeons, flickers, flycatchers, vireos, warblers, kingbirds, grouse, wood ducks, bear, foxes, skunks and chipmunks.

  • Wood is eaten by porcupines and twigs browsed by deer, elk and rabbits.

Bare Root Tree Planting Care and Instructions (PDF)

(used by permission from the Arbor Day Foundation)

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