This year we are partnering with American Meetings, Inc. to provide free trees to our tree sale customers! Black cherry, red maple, and black walnut are three of the fastest-growing hardwoods native to our area, so we have selected them for their faster carbon sequestration potential. Each of our first 100 tree sale customers this year may opt to receive up to two free trees out of these species. Read on to learn why else we love these trees!
Black Cherry – feed the birds!
The largest of the wild cherry trees, black cherry has beautifully shiny, striped bark when it is young. In maturity the bark becomes very dark and with a rough texture sometimes described memorably as burnt potato chips. The wood is highly valued for use in cabinetry and fine woodworking. From spring through summer, black cherry is host to over 200 species of butterflies and moths, second only to oaks in the diversity of caterpillars it hosts. These larvae in turn are fundamental food sources for songbirds – a nest of five chickadee chicks must be fed 6,000 to 9,000 caterpillars before they fledge! In winter, the cherries are eaten by some 70 bird species, including ruffed grouse, woodpeckers, cedar waxwings, thrushes, and grosbeaks. Bears and raccoons will climb the trees for the fruit, while foxes, chipmunks, rabbits, white-footed mice, and squirrels frequently feed on fallen fruits. Twigs and wilted leaves contain high levels of hydrocyanic acid and other toxins which are poisonous to cattle and humans. Black cherry is also fast-growing given how dense its wood is – want to sequester carbon? Feed the birds? Grow high-value timber? Plant a black cherry!
Black Walnut – produce high-quality timber!
Walnuts have always been prized by humans. The dark brown wood of the black walnut is beautiful, durable, and relatively easy to work. And though the nut is an absolute ordeal to extract, it provided valuable food for native peoples and settlers alike. The walnuts most commonly eaten today are English walnuts; butternuts are the species native to Vermont, and black walnuts are native to the Midwest. It is thought they were brought north to Vermont by native peoples before European arrival. Black walnuts are still a popular delicacy, especially in the Midwest and southern U.S. The trees are also planted for their spreading canopy, which, at maturity, shades houses, yards and grazing livestock. Black walnut is favored for “silvopasture” systems in the northeast, where animals are grazed and trees are raised for timber on the same land. In the wild, these trees prefer rich, well-drained soils, and are often found near rivers or creeks. Chemicals exuded from their roots may inhibit the growth of other plants, so be sure to research what plants are compatible and which are affected.
Red Maple – striking foliage!
Red maple is one of the most common trees in northeast wetlands. It grows fast and reaches heights of 60-75 feet. It has bright red fall foliage, and its seed, sap and buds serve as food for wildlife.
See full descriptions of all the trees, shrubs, and wildflower seed mixes we offer.