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“In some ways we can add variety and diversity to the urban forest by offering trees people might not think to buy, like hackberry and river birch,” he said.
The city does not subsidize the costs of trees, Hanson said, but passes along savings achieved by purchasing in volume.
Other cities that offer tree sales to residents include St. Louis Park, which began a program in 2009 and this year is selling 350 trees for $35 each. Burnsville sells not only bare-root trees and shrubs, but also native wildflowers, ferns and grasses.
Cities that have sales usually describe the program on their websites or in newsletters, with details about whether species are still available, prices and pickups.
In Plymouth, forestry technician Lara Newberger said she began the program in 2007 with about 30 orders, and it has doubled each year since then. In 2012 Plymouth sold 1,000 shrubs and 600 trees to about 250 customers, she said. As in many programs, tree care experts are available at pickups to answer questions or provide handouts about how to plant and care for the trees, she said.
“Many customers purchase every year,” Newberger said. “I can’t imagine where they put it all.”
Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388