25th Annual TreeFest-January 20 & 21

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TreeFest black and white logo

The 25th annual TreeFest will be held Friday, January 20 and Saturday, January 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or while supplies last, at Independence Mall inside the JC Penney corridor.

Households may choose up to five (5) free trees or grasses from the available selection (a $5 donation per household is suggested). All trees and grasses are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tree species include longleaf pine, red cedar, river birch, silky dogwood, sugarberry, red hickory, eastern redbud, crabapple, chestnut oak, live oak, wiregrass. Indian grass, little bluestem grass and big bluestem will also be available. Trees are bare root and should be planted as soon as possible.

bare root bald cypress

More than 5,000 individual plants will be available during the give-away, with an equal amount distributed each day. In order to serve as many in our community as possible, we ask patrons to limit household allotments to five plants.

Experts will be available at TreeFest to help with plant selection and provide information for their care. Before selecting trees, residents are encouraged to consider the size of the site, whether utility lines exist above and below ground, proximity to buildings, and site conditions like soil type, drainage and sun exposure.

“TreeFest is celebrating its 25th year of distributing bare root seedling trees to residents in an effort to expand and increase the tree canopy here in the Cape Fear region.” says Amy Long, TreeFest Chairperson and UNCW Department of Environmental Science faculty. “Trees offer many benefits to our community, from offering flood protection and improving water and air quality, to providing shade and oxygen, and providing food and nesting sites for birds and wildlife.”

volunteer master gardener helping at TreeFest

TreeFest began in 1997 after hurricanes Bertha and Fran decimated tree populations in the area. Since its inception, TreeFest has given away over 100,000 tree seedlings to area residents. The NC Forest Service Nursery in Goldsboro, NC grew the plants for this event. A voluntary planning committee and many sponsors, including the City of Wilmington, Friends of Wilmington Skateparks, Independence Mall, N.C. Cooperative Extension, NC Forest Service, New Hanover County Soil and Water Conservation District, and UNCW’s Departments of Environmental Sciences and Biology & Marine Biology, make TreeFest possible with the generous donations from its patrons and event day volunteers.