This year, Conservation Districts across Vermont hosted their annual spring Tree Sales, and they were a great success. With pickups scheduled in May, the eight participating Conservation Districts saw more than 20,000 stems go home with customers. This was the second-year tree sales occurred during the pandemic, but with scheduled pickup times, contact-less or curbside pickup, Conservation Districts successfully supported the health and safety of customers. These events have a long tradition, dating back to the 1970s, and in addition to supporting local conservation programs, they are an excellent resource for native species planting. While species varied by district, the diversity of the plants was impressive: habitat-quality deciduous perennials, evergreens, domesticated fruits, nuts, and flowers, edible plants, vegetables, and wildflower seed mixes. Restoring or growing the native plant habitat is vital to preserving Vermont’s biodiversity. Each plant becomes part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape.
Unfortunately, sourcing native plants is becoming an increasing challenge in Vermont and across the country. The UVM Watershed Forestry Partnership and the USFWS Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program will examine the local needs and opportunities through “Vermont-specific data on market trends and the current state of our nursery infrastructure.” This study was impacted by a paper published in February 2021 which states that in order to meet only half of projected reforestation opportunities in the Lower 48 United States by 2040, annual nursery production will need to increase 2.4-fold, totaling an additional 1.8 billion seedlings. To stay up to date on current research or express interest and support for your local nurseries, visit UVM Watershed Forestry Partnership to subscribe.