nursery planting

The Burlington Community Tree Nursery is located at the University of Vermont Horticultural Research Center in South Burlington. Click here for directions.

Why a Community Nursery?

  1. It saves money! It costs $75-100 per tree to grow a sapling in the nursery to a size that can be planted along the street. A tree of equal size from a commercial nursery costs $200 - 300. Each year we supply the city with 90-100 trees. By growing trees in the nursery, we save the city of Burlington over $10,000 annually.
  2. Trees that grow in our area are better adjusted to our climate and are more likely to survive and thrive when they are transplanted to the street.
  3. The public takes a more active role in the ongoing care of the trees along the streets if they are involved in the care and planting of the nursery trees. To ensure the long life of our city trees, the citizens of Burlington must take an interest and help care for them.

Burlington Community Tree Nursery

The Burlington Community Tree Nursery was established in May 2001 to provide a sustained source of low-cost trees to plant along Burlington's streets by Branch Out Burlington!

The nursery is located on land contributed by the University of Vermont at the Horticulture Research Center on Green Mountain Drive in South Burlington. Personnel from the Center assist with preparing the planting beds and irrigation.

A group of volunteers gathers in early May each year, to plant saplings that will be transplanted to the streets of Burlington in 2-3 years. Usually 90-120 trees are planted out into the nursery each year, purchased from a commercial nursery as bare-root saplings.

The tree species we plant change every year depending on what type of trees are needed along Burlington's streets and in the parks. Sadly, many of the trees we select are not native species because these are often prone to insect or disease damage or are not tolerant of the harsh growing conditions that exist along Burlington's streets. For example, Sugar Maple, a shallow rooting species, is extremely sensitive to salt, and would not survive in the compacted street-side soils. Tree species are selected in association with the Burlington Arborist to ensure they meet the needs of Burlington's Urban Forest.

The saplings are planted into "grow-bags". This growing system concentrates the root system within the bag and facilitates transplanting. The spring tree planting event has a very festive atmosphere and is lots of fun for people of all ages. Music is provided by Robert Resnik and Friends and refreshments are served when the work is done. Many volunteers are the lucky recipients of door prizes. The trees are weeded and mulched throughout the year by volunteers. We host monthly weeding bees over the summer to which all volunteers are cordially invited.

In late April each year we dig up trees that are large enough to make the move to their final growing site. The Burlington Arborist maintains a comprehensive map of the city trees and uses this to decide where trees should be planted. Volunteers assist with digging the trees and personnel from the Burlington Parks Department arrange for planting them out.

The Tree Keeper Program was established by Branch Out Burlington! to link nursery trees with and people with space in the green belt in front of their home. If the green belt is too narrow, the city can arrange an easement so a tree can be planted in the front yard. If you are interested in having a tree planted in front of your home, visit the Tree Keeper link to learn more.

Interested in volunteering? Contact Margaret Skinner, 656-5440, or email:Margaret Skinner