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TreeFest Offers Seedlings, Native Grasses

​NEW HANOVER COUNTY – County residents looking to replace trees in their yards lost to Hurricane Florence can get free seedlings at TreeFest, an annual distribution set for Friday, Jan. 18, and Saturday, Jan. 19.

A dogwood tree in bloom. File photo

The event will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or until trees run out, inside Independence Mall in the JC Penney-end court.

Organizers said Hurricane Florence took away many trees in the area, and TreeFest is an opportunity to increase the tree canopy and biodiversity in yards. Trees are free, but a donation of $3 per household is suggested to help ensure that TreeFest can continue next year.

Tree species include bald cypress, black walnut, buttonbush, chestnut oak, crape myrtle, longleaf pine, persimmon, pignut hickory, red maple, river birch, silky dogwood, swamp chestnut oak, white ash and white oak. Grass species include Indian grass and little bluestem. There is a limit of five trees and/or grasses per household.

TreeFest began in 1997, after hurricanes Bertha and Fran destroyed trees in the area. The TreeFest Committee organizes the event; members and sponsors include the following:

  • North Carolina Forest Service.
  • Keep New Hanover Beautiful.
  • New Hanover County Department of Parks and Gardens.
  • New Hanover Soil and Water Conservation District.
  • City of Wilmington.
  • The University of North Carolina Wilmington Department of Environmental Sciences.
  • The Wilmington Earth Day Alliance.
  • Independence Mall.

The trees and grasses are grown at the Forest Service nursery in Goldsboro.

The committee encourages planting of the seedlings within a week of the event, noting that winter is a great time to plant trees and grasses in the New Hanover County area.

For more information, contact TreeFest Committee member Karl Busick at 910-540-4028 or

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.