Big Trees Sale
We are pleased to announce the 9th bi-annual Big Trees Sale hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS). The Big Trees sale will take place Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park located at 1114 Shawan Road in Cockeysville. The online pre-order form will be available in early April.
Each spring and fall, Baltimore County hosts the Big Trees Sale, featuring a selection of native trees. Big Trees are supplied by Baltimore County’s reforestation nursery. Big Trees are intended to be planted on private residential properties (please, no orders for contractors or businesses).
- What Are Big Trees?
- Why Plant Big Trees?
- What Big Trees Are Available?
- Plant Trees in the Right Place
- New Big Trees Shelter Kits
- Have a Large Area to Plant?
Big Trees are Maryland native species such as oaks and maples that grow taller and cast shade over a wider area than do smaller trees such as dogwoods and flowering cherries. Big Trees need room to grow and take longer to mature, but they provide greater and longer-lasting benefits to homeowners when properly sited.
If you have room on your property for a Big Tree, there’s a tree species adapted to your site’s conditions, whether it’s wet, dry, sunny, shady, flat, or hilly! Descriptions and growing conditions for each species are provided below.
Planting large trees is so advantageous, the better question may be, “why not Big Trees?” When properly selected, located, planted, and maintained, native overstory trees:
- provide shade and funnel air in the summer for cooling, and form windbreaks in the winter for warming,
- soak up excess storm water, filter pollutants, and control erosion,
- improve community aesthetics and increase property values,
- provide bird and other wildlife habitat,
- reduce energy costs, clean the air, and sequester carbon dioxide,
- contribute to Maryland’s 2020 goal of “No Net Loss of Forests” and the County’s Tree Canopy goals, and
- facilitate Baltimore County’s work to help restore the Chesapeake Bay.
Big Trees species generally out-perform smaller ornamental tree species for providing environmental benefits. Compare (PDF) these three Big Trees species to three common understory ornamental species of different sizes for their ability to soak up excess rainwater, save energy through shading, remove atmospheric carbon, and add to property values for single family homes.
Baltimore County encourages citizens to consider planting oak species due to their superior habitat value. Research shows that in the spring, the leaves of oak trees are a critical food source for moth caterpillars that breeding song birds gather to feed their hatchlings. Oaks are the preferred food source for 534 species of moth caterpillars, whereas maples support 285 species, beeches support 126 species, and sweetgum provide little or no food source for birds. The oak forests that once dominated our region are declining, and Big Trees is a great way you can help restore our forest ecosystems.
Species for the spring 2014 sale will be posted in the coming months. In the meantime, pictures and descriptions of the Big Trees sold in the fall (PDF) are available . Understanding a species’ appearance, size, soil preferences, sunlight requirements, and relative tolerance to urban conditions can help you determine which Big Tree is right for you. Important factors include the moisture and consistency of the soil, the amount of sun exposure, and the degree of soil compaction.
Species Offered during the 2013 Fall Sale
- Black Oak
- Bur Oak
- Chestnut Oak
- Pin Oak
- Northern Red Oak
- White Oak
- Scarlet Oak
- Swamp White Oak
- River Birch
Trees should be planted in the right location to protect power lines from damage. Read about Baltimore Gas and Electric's (BGE) Right Tree Right Place Program.
Tree shelter kits are available to protect your trees from deer browsing and buck rubbing. Each kit costs $8 and includes:
- a 64-inch length of deer fencing to make a 20-inch diameter, five-foot tall tree shelter
- two six-foot heavy-duty wood stakes
- six nylon cable ties to attach the shelter to the stakes
- directions for assembly and installation
If you have one acre or larger of land in Baltimore County that you would want to reforest, we may be interested in working with you as part of our expanded Chesapeake Bay watershed implementation program. Contact Carrie Oberholtzer at 410-887-5684 or email@example.com to discuss.
Don't find a Big Tree species you are looking for? You can also visit one of the retail nurseries or garden centers in Baltimore County.
Need more information? For information about 200 species of forest trees, see the USDA Forest Service Agricultural Handbook 654: Silvics of North America, Volume 1-Conifers, and Volume 2-Hardwoods.
If you need assistance or have questions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised February 6, 2014