If you’ve been wanting to change your landscape but don’t want to spend a lot of money here are three tips on how Jason and I get our trees or shrubs for little or no money :). Perfect for those gardening on a budget!!! These smaller trees and plants will tend to be on the smaller side. However, smaller plants and trees establish healthier root systems quicker than larger ones. You just have to be patient and wait for them to grow:).
Free or Discounted Trees & Plants
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1) Free Tree Give Aways
Twice a year in spring and fall our township gives away free trees to its residents. All you have to show up and prove you live here. You have to get in line early… Yes there is a line :)! Who doesn’t love a free tree right? It’s awesome!!!
Our township gives away native trees that grow well in our area (zone 6) from small (dogwoods and redbuds) to medium (sassafras and hornbeams) to large (oaks and sycamores). For those of you that aren’t familiar with what trees are native to your area I would encourage you to do some research. Native trees are great for many reasons. They will grow well and thrive in your yard because this is the environment they were meant to grow in, they don’t require a lot of maintenance, and they aren’t invasive!
I have also found that other townships in our area have similar programs especially around Arbor Day so ask around where you live to find a similar program.
Here are a few trees we’ve gotten for free from the township over the past couple years…
A Tulip Tree (liriodendron tulipifera)
It has yellow tulip like flowers in spring and golden fall color. It grows fast to 70-90 feet.
American Sycamore (platanus acerifolia)
It has beautiful a street tree with gorgeous white/ tan exfoliating bark that grows to 150 feet. Wow! It has already grown taller than our children’s playset and it starting to give shade to that as well.
2) Wait for Sales and Buy off Season
A great way to get trees and shrubs and plants to fill in your yard is to wait for them to go on sale. Our Lowes always has a year round clearance section for outdoor and indoor plants. More often than not these plants are there because someone forgot to water them for a couple days. Once the plant gets home and watered they are perfectly fine. After holidays all those Mother’s Day and Easter plants go on a big sale. This past year I bought 6 pots of Easter tulips for fifty cents each. These bulbs had nothing wrong with them other than the fact that it was the day after Easter. They will come back every year.
Another year on Mother’s Day I got eight hydrangeas for fifty cents each! It has been our tradition to swing by lowes on these holidays to see what they have discounted. Who doesn’t want to spend their mothers day at Lowe’s am I right ladies? Twice a year in the summer and late fall Lowes and Home Depot discounts their plants. All you have to do is keep checking back to see when the sale starts. All of these clearance plants have a year warranty so if they can’t be saved you just bring them back with their receipt and you get your money back and you give up a little of your time. I added 2 of the hydrangeas to our new DIY Cedar Flower Planters.
Just last weekend all trees at Lowe’s were 75% off. I was able to get the five trees (a white dogwood, okame cherry (seen in the front our house pic), a magnolia jane, and 2 santa rosa plums and one quick fire hydrangea (pictured above)) for less than forty dollars. Woo Hoo! We went back and bought more dogwoods to go along the back of our farmhouse walkway.
3) Mail order plants
I bought this beech tree online from Forest Farm. As long as you are willing to be patient for the type of tree or shrub you want you can find the right price point for you. A good website that rates online plant sales is www.davesgarden.com. Last fall I ordered twenty annabelle hydrangeas for $40 from Michigan Bulb. They were only about 4 inches tall but they have already doubled in size and by next year they will be near full size :). I planted the hydrangeas along our driveway and in the front our farmhouse.
I only order plants from places that offer money back warranties if your plant dies within a certain amount of time. Over the last ten years I can only think of two times my mail order plans didn’t work out and both times I got my money back.
Hope this inspires all of you to get gardening…just don’t forget to water your new plants ;)!
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