Free native trees available on Earth Day

A redbud tree on Bradford Road. [photo: Peggy Spaeth]

This Earth Day, April 22, The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes will offer a limited supply of seedlings of three native tree species. They’ll be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Friends Pavilion, at 2600 South Park Blvd. If seedlings remain at the end of the day, those will be distributed on Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The bare-root 12- to 15-inch seedlings will be accompanied by planting instructions. The three native species are:

Cercis canadensis, redbud, is one of the first spring flowering trees in Northeast Ohio, blooming simultaneously with Cornus florida, white flowering dogwood, creating a pink haze in the landscape. Redbud is a small understory tree with an umbrella-shaped crown often seen on the woodland edge. The flowers bloom on the twigs before leaves appear, and the heart-shaped leaves glow yellow in the fall. The tree sprouts easily from seed, and seedlings are easily moved and shared.

Carpinus caroliniana, musclewood, is another understory tree, and is named for its sinewy gray branches. The form is more sculptural than bushy, and it provides a structural element in the forest or garden. It is a larval host for tiger swallowtail butterflies, will tolerate periodic flooding or a wet streambank, and has an interesting seed pod for fall interest.

Carya ovata, shagbark hickory, is a tall (up to 75 feet), straight tree that is easy to identify. Its trunk is covered with vertical shaggy curls of gray bark. Shagbark hickory grows in sun or shade, in sandy or clay soil. The nuts are edible by humans as well as squirrels.

This year is the 51st annual Earth Day. The trails are open at the Nature Center for all to enjoy a walk in its restored woodlands.

For more information, contact Natural Resource Specialist Nick Mikash at, or call 216-321-5935 ext. 240.

Peggy Spaeth

Peggy Spaeth works on improving habitat with the Heights Pollinator Path; Friends of the Bradford Cinder Path; as the co-chair of Friends of Lower Lake, a volunteer program of the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership; and in her yard.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:30 AM, 04.01.2021