Tree Species Availability for Stillmeadow Community Fellowship Giveaway on October 23, 2021

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Take home your own free tree!

Blue Water Baltimore is partnering with the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, TreeBaltimore and Stillmeadow Community Fellowship to offer residents a variety of native tree species for FREE! From small flowering and fruiting trees to large canopy trees, each one makes a difference in our city. Trees cool and clean our air, absorb stormwater, increase biodiversity, and beautify our neighborhoods.

How it works

  • Free trees are for residents of Baltimore County or Baltimore City. By accepting a tree, you are agreeing to plant it on your property/with permission from property owner within two weeks of the giveaway date (by November 6th, 2021).
  • Trees MUST be picked up between 12-2pm on October 23rd, 2021 at Stillmeadow Community Fellowship. Any unclaimed trees will be made available for walk-ups after 2pm.
  • Free trees are for planting in your front and/or back yard only. Not in a container. Not in a street tree bed. (If you are a resident of Baltimore City and would like to request a new STREET tree, use this form instead.
  • There is a limit of 3 pre-registered trees per household. Remember, understory trees (serviceberry and American hornbeam) are limited to only ONE per species per household. All other trees allow up to two.
  • All trees are first-come, first-serve, while supplies last.
  • Note: This website is intended to provide general information only. Always seek the advice of a health professional before eating any plant matter. Information provided is not designed to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any illness, or injury. Always consult a health care professional or medical doctor when suffering from any health ailment, disease, illness, or injury, or before attempting any traditional or folk remedies. As with any natural product, they can be toxic if misused.

The pre-registration form to sign up for a free tree will be posted on the event page on October 9th. Please check back then to sign up.

Right tree, Right place

It is vital that you to carefully select the tree(s) species that are right for your unique space and needs. Before placing your tree order, talk a walk outside and look at your yard. Take into consideration any overhead power lines, low areas where rainwater collects, nearby pedestrian right of ways, etc that might impact your tree. Review the available species and plan for expected height and spread, lifespan, and sunlight and soil requirements. Many of these trees will live for a few decades and maybe even a few centuries, so choose wisely. This fall, we have 10 different native species available for pre-registration: Allegheny serviceberry, American hazelnut, American hornbeam, American holly, Pitch pine, Swamp chestnut oak, Southern red oak, Eastern cottonwood, Common persimmon and American linden.

For planting tips & tricks, please check out our How-To-Plant post.



American Holly – Ilex opaca


Height: 30-50 feet | Spread: 15-25 feet | Light: full sun-part shade | Moisture: dry-moist

American holly is a slow-growing evergreen tree that adds year-round beauty to landscaping. Hollies make great privacy screens and are often planted in groups. They tolerate a broad range of soil conditions, but not flooding or poorly drained soils. If you plant American holly for the bright red berries, you will need to plant more than one to make sure you have both male and female plants. American holly provides important wildlife services. Many species of birds and mammals eat the bitter berries, but the fruits are poisonous to humans. The tree also forms a thick canopy which offers protection for birds from predators and storms. The flowers are pollinated by insects including bees, wasps, ants and night-flying moths. American holly is the larval plant for Henry’s Elfin butterfly. This is the holly whose berry-laden boughs are typically collected at Christmas time each year for ornamentation (“decking the halls” as it were).

Eastern cottonwood – Populus deltoides


Height: 50-80 feet | Spread: 35-60 feet | Light: full sun | Moisture: medium-wet

Eastern cottonwood is a large, very fast-growing tree that typically grows in lowlands along streams. It tolerates a wide range of soils and can withstand occasional flooding. Large triangular leaves have a flat petiole (leaf stem) which causes them to flap magnificently in the breeze (Similar to the quaking aspen, also in the willow family). These leaves turn a beautiful copper-yellow in the fall. Cottonwoods broadcast abundant densely tufted seeds with silky white airs that blow through the air and collect along curbs, roadsides and fences (and resemble cotton). The bark contains an aspirin-like compound that can been used medicinally. Eastern cottonwoods are a popular nesting sites for Baltimore orioles!

Southern red oak – Quercus falcata


Height: 60-80 feet | Spread: 40-50 feet | Light: full sun | Moisture: dry-moist

This is an ornamentally attractive oak with a straight trunk and an open, rounded crown. The Southern red oak grows relatively quickly for an oak. It is characteristically an upland tree, growing on dry, sandy, clay soils. Occasionally it grows along streams in fertile bottoms and here reaches its largest size. The Southern red oak is moderately resistant to damage by deer. This oak can be identified by its distinctive long terminal lobe that resembles a pointing “witches’ finger.”

Swamp chestnut oak – Quercus michauxii


Height: 40-60 feet | Spread: 30-40 feet | Light: full sun | Moisture: medium-wet

Swamp chestnut oak is long-lived and slow-growing. It tolerates both flooding and drought and can handle soil compaction better than most oaks. The leaves turn an attractive dark red color during the fall.  Swamp chestnut has a tall, narrow crown and is therefore suitable for planting locations with limited space. The acorns of the swamp chestnut are sweet-tasting and can be eaten directly from the tree (acorns on most oaks need to be boiled first to remove tannic acid). Acorns are typically not produced until the tree reaches 20-25 years old. Scientific name is after the French botanist, Frances A. Michaux, who wrote a three-volume treatise on the trees of eastern North America.

Pitch pine – Pinus rigida


Height: 40-60 feet | Spread: 20-40 feet | Light: full sun | Moisture: Dry, rocky, sandy

Pitch pine is a small to medium sized native North American conifer (cone-bearing tree). The common name refers to the high resin content of the knotty wood. As an evergreen, it keeps its green foliage throughout the winter. This hardy species is resistant to fire and injury, forming sprouts from roots and stumps. It adapts to the driest, most unproductive sites, yet is also found in coastal swamps. This tree is salt tolerant and rarely browsed by deer. Twigs, leaves and seeds are important wildlife food. Needles are in bundles of 3, are 3 to 5 inches long, and yellowish green. Pitch pine is intolerant of shade.

Common persimmon – Diospyros virginiana


Height: 40-60 feet | Spread: 25-35 feet | Light: partial shade-full sun | Moisture: dry-med (well-drained)

The common persimmon, also known as the American persimmon, produces a sweet, edible fruit best enjoyed after it softens after the first frost in late autumn. When ripe, the sweet fruit of somewhat recalls the flavor of dates. Immature fruit contains tannin and is strongly astringent. Persimmons are consumed fresh and are used to make puddings, cakes, and beverages. Because the persimmon is normally dioecious (male and female flowers appear on separate trees), the best way to ensure fruit production is to plant multiple trees. On mature trees, the tree is easily identifiable by its thick, dark-gray bark that is deeply furrowed and broken into scaly, squarish blocks.

American linden (Basswood) – Tilia americana


Height: 50-80 feet | Spread: 30-50 feet | Light: partial shade-full sun | Moisture:

dry-med (well-drained)

American linden, also known as an American basswood is a stately, wide-spreading tree. This tree will develop to its full potential if given full sun and rich, moist, well-drained soil. American linden will tolerate clay, a wide pH range and partial shade. Lindens produce broad, heart shaped, asymmetrical leaves with pointed tips and serrated edges that turn yellow during the fall. When flowering, the trees are full of bees, hence the common name “Bee-tree.” This species produces a strongly flavored honey. The abundant seeds are an important food source for a wide range of small mammals and birds.

American hazelnut – Corylus americana


Height: 8-15 feet | Spread: 10-12 feet | Light: partial-full shade | Moisture: rich, well-drained

Commonly called American fibert, hazelnut is a rounded, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree. It tends to ‘sucker’ (send up shoots from the roots) and may need to be thinned out over time.  Hazelnut is monoecious, meaning that it produces separate male and female flowers on the same plant, but it does not self-fertilize. Cross pollination is achieved by wind, and it is therefore desireable to have two trees if you are interested in growing hazelnuts. The tree will begin producing edible nuts 2-3 years after planting. Nuts may be roasted and eaten or ground into flour but are also commonly left for the squirrels and birds. Hazelnuts are an understory species and prefer at least partial shade.

American hornbeam- Carpinus caroliniana


Height: 20-35 feet |Spread: 20-35 feet |Light: Part shade-full shade | Moisture: well-drained, moist

American hornbeam is a slow-growing, medium-sized tree with distinctive muscle-like bark and attractive red-orange fall foliage. It is naturally found growing near the forest floor and therefore prefers some shade. It flourishes along stream banks and bottomlands and tolerates periodic flooding, though it shows remarkable adaptability to drier, sunnier sites. Other common names include blue beech, water beech, musclewood and ironwood. As the common name suggests, the extremely hard wood of this tree was once used to make bowls, tool handles and ox yokes. American hornbeam is the larval host for several native butterflies including the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail as well as an important nesting site for the ruby-throated hummingbird.

Allegheny serviceberry – Amelanchier laevis


Height: 15-30 feet | Spread: 10-20 feet | Light: full sun-full shade | Moisture: moist-slightly dry

Allegheny serviceberry, also called Juneberry, Shadbush, and Saskatoon, is a small, often multi-trunked understory tree or tall shrub. It features showy white flowers in clusters in early spring before the leaves emerge. These blooms give way to delicious purple-red edible berries in June that resemble blueberries in size, color and taste. Berries can be eaten raw or used in jams and pies! If you don’t eat them, the birds certainly will. Serviceberries finish off the year with attractive yellow-orange leaf color. They prefer moist, acidic, well-drained loams and will tolerate a range of soil types but not drought. Serviceberries are medium to fast-growing but fairly short-lived tree. Note: serviceberries are susceptible to cedar apple rust (passed along by both cedar and apple trees), which does not generally harm the tree but renders the berries inedible.