Spring 2017 Sugar Maple Seedling Give-Away Dates

Apple Blossoms - April, 2017
Apple Blossoms – April, 2017 Spring is finally here, in all it’s glory. In and around Chicago, the apple blossoms are especially nice this year! It’s time to plant some trees!

With the onset of Spring, it’s time to give away more Sugar Maples seedlings to good homes.

This year, we’d like to give away 2,000 to 3,000 more seedlings, if possible.

We also have quite a few 3-6′ tall Sugar Maples. These are 4-6 years old. You are welcome to these, provided you can help dig them up. Contact us for details or to make arrangements: info@thesandymapleseedproject.com


Green Earth Institute Plant Sale
Saturday, May 13th, 8 am-1 pm

McDonald Farm—60-acre organic vegetable farm in south Naperville, 10S404 Knoch Knolls Road, Naperville, IL 60565-5447

DETAILS: Get your free sugar maple seedlings at this event! You can also buy organic vegetable and herb seedlings for your garden! Tomatoes, peppers, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant, and herbs! All certified organic and grown by Green Earth staff and volunteers, here at our farm. All proceeds will be used to support educational programs of the Green Earth Institute. Click here to view/download a PDF of the organic veggie plant list. Other native trees, shrubs, and grasses and wildflowers will also be available to purchase through collaboration with The Conservation Foundation.

QUESTIONS: call the Green Earth Institute 630-664-5681.

Family Field Day
Saturday, May 27th, 11am to 5pm

St. James Farm, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

DETAILS: Stop by for a free sugar maple seedling and learn about the history and traditions of St. James Farm which are celebrated at this one day annual event featuring equestrian and canine performances, a dairy exhibit, hayrides, kids’ activities, food and more.  Last year they welcomed over 5,200 visitors to this successful event and they expect that number to grow considerably this year.

QUESTIONS: call the Forest Preserve District Headquarters (630) 933-7200.

Veggie Fest, 2017
Saturday & Sunday, August 12-13

Benedictine University, in the beautiful village of Lisle, IL

DETAILS:  Pick up a free sugar maple seedling at Veggie Fest which is one of the largest vegetarian food and lifestyle festivals in North America. Bring your friends, bring your family, and don’t forget your appetite! Admission and parking are both FREE.

QUESTIONS: call (630) 955-1200

Fall Festival
October, 2017 (date tba)

Danada Equestrian Center, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Details: Fall is a great time of year to plant a tree, so stop by and get yours at this an annual family-friendly celebration of the horse at one of DuPage County’s most beautiful fall destinations! Free Admission. This year’s events are yet to be announced, but last year featured: Horse Show, Parade of Breeds, Mid West Renegades Equestrian Drill Team, Northern Illinois Outlaws Cowboy Mounted Shooting, Danada Musical Drill Team, Plus Other Performers, Hayrides, Hobbyhorse Craft, Pony Rides, Stable Tours, Food, Pumpkin & Face Painting, Horse-Care Demos, Nature Art & Photo Show.

QUESTIONS: call the Forest Preserve District Headquarters (630) 933-7200.


Stay tuned for other events.

Contact us at: info@thesandymapleseedproject.com if you would like us to attend your event.

4 New Homes Found, Trees Nicely Planted!

Denise M. who picked up 4 maple seedlings last weekend and planted them all already.

Nice job, Denise! They look beautiful and with such good work, they are sure to make it through the Winter and grow fast this Spring and Summer.

Thanks for sharing the pics with us! I hope you send us updates from time to time so we can see how fast they grow!

Anyone else out there have photos to share? We’d LOVE to see them! Just send them in. 🙂

New home of seedling
Another really good thing that Denise did is to stake and mulch her seedlings. The tree won’t need the stake too long — only a few years but it will do much better with the mulch for many years to come.




Boy Scouts to the Rescue

I want to give a great big THANK YOU to Ty Jensen of Scout Troop  68, Naperville, and his family, friends, and fellow scouts.

Ty Jensen (far right standing in white shirt) and his crew of family, friends, and fellow scouts after digging up sugar maple trees to give away at Veggie fest.

Ty Jensen volunteered to help with this project which he used for his Eagle Scout Service Project. What a great idea, Ty!

Ty’s help is critical in getting approximately 1,000 seedlings potted up, transported to the scene, and given away Veggie Fest. He also organized a fund raiser to help cover the cost of materials so that we can give  these trees away for FREE.

This is one of the 3 crews that Ty recruited. and organized. The crews worked simultaneously to get this big job done.
On each team, some people loosen the soil around the roots of the saplings with a pitch fork. Others gently dug the saplings out the ground so as not to break the roots and then immediately put them into tall, 32 oz cups so the delicate root hairs would not dry out. And other gathered the potted seedlings and carried them to the staging area where they were watered.


Everyone helped, even the little girls who kept a fresh supply of pots for each team to plant in, in between petting the puppy, of course.

Wanna free tree?

If you are in the Western suburbs of Chicago and would like to plant a free tree…

Just send an email to info@theSandyMapleSeedProject.com or click the Contact Us button in the upper right corner.

If you want to help and you…

  1. have an idea about how to get more trees planted in the ground, or
  2. know of a group who would like to use this as a fund raiser, or
  3. know of a teacher, school, or church group that would distribute these trees, or
  4. would like to help pot up more seedlings, or
  5. are interested in volunteering in some other way, or even
  6. want to make a donation to help cover costs

then send an email to info@theSandyMapleSeedProject.com.

All help would be greatly appreciated!


How to Plant

  1. First, choose a nice location. Here is what you need:IMG_0922
    • Sunlight: Full sun is best but a partly shade site will also do as long as it get 4-6 hours a day of sunlight.
    • Drainage: Select a site with moist or well drained soil not one where the water collects in pools after a rain.
    • Road Salt: Make sure the site is not near a road that is heavily salted in winter.
    • Room to Grow: Be sure there is plenty of space for growth, as these trees can get pretty big:  60–75′ high and 40–50′ wide.  Allow at least 20′ on all sides.
  2. Next, dig a hole. Here how to do that:
    • Depth: Dig the hole a little deeper than the cup (about 1′). Back fill with 3-5 inches of compost or good quality top soil.
    • Width: Dig the hole about 3 times the diameter of the cup (about 1′).
    • Surrounding Surface Area: Remove plants 2-3′ around the hole, so the tree doesn’t have to compete for water and nutrients.
    • Water: Fill the hole with water and let it soak down into the surrounding area before planting to give your seedling a good start.
  3. Then plant your seedling:
    • Gently remove the seedling from the paper cup being careful you don’t damage the roots.
    • Immediately put the seedling into the hole–don’t expose the fine roots  to the sun or air any longer than necessary or they could dry up and cause your tree to die.
    • Place the seedling so that the top of the soil in the cup is at the top of the hole. Planting too deep or too shallow will make it hard for the roots to get the right amount of water and air.
    • Fill in the edges of the hole with good compost or loose top soil and pack down gently but firmly with your hands and then your feet to ensure that all of the roots are in contact with the soil.
    • Put a stake in the ground near the seedling to protect it from getting trampled. If need be loosely tie the seedling up to the stake so that it stands up straight and tall.
    • IMPORTANT: Add a surface layer of mulch such as chipped wood to cover the exposed soil. This will keep the moisture in the soil and the ground will stay cooler. It will also make it easier to weed.
  4. Finally, water:
    • Water immediately after planting and then occasionally the first year or so whenever the ground around it feels dry or hot.
    • The better job you do with the mulch, the less watering you will need to do.
  5. Enjoy:
    • If planted correctly, all you’ll have to do from now on is sit back and watch it grow. These trees are require little maintenance – maybe just light pruning of the bottom branches once or twice. They are also very hardy and have few if any diseases or pests.
    • After they “catch”, you can expect 1-3 feet of new vertical growth each year, depending on the location.
    • They turn a beautiful color in the Fall and will survive the winter easily.
    • Your kids will love to play in the fallen leaves  and when they are done, you can turn them into a nutritious compost for your garden.
    • You can even tap them for maple syrup, when they are mature.

Got an idea?

If you have any ideas about how to reach more people who would be likely to plant a sugar maple seedling, please let us know!

We are open to suggestions.

Just reply below and let’s get a conversation tarted!

Wanna help?

Like to work outside in the garden on a beautiful day? Live in or around the western suburbs of Chicago?

Then why not volunteer to help pot up some sugar maple seedlings to give away? It is and fun and you can bring your friends to help, too.

We’ll supply all the pots, soil, tools, and sugar maple seedlings. You supply the labor.

The best time is usually on the weekend or early evenings during the week for an hour or  two at most.

Just send us an email (info@thesandymapleseedproject.com) or post a reply below  and let  us know what works best for you–we’ll make it happen.


Fun Way to Fundraise

If you are looking for a fun, new way to raise money for your group, why not do something that’s good for the earth, good for people, and will last a life-time?

We’ll provide the sugar maple seedlings for free if you provide the labor. Just find a new housing development that has very few trees, then go door-to-door and offer to plant in their yard for a small donation.


  1. Go the day AFTER a nice rain when the ground is soft and it will only take a few minutes to dig the hole and plant the tree.
  2. Be sure to mulch to keep the roots moist and cool.
  3. Free wood chips are often available from Du Page County Forest Preserve.
  4. For best results, water the tree thoroughly after you  plant it and insert a small stake near it so the homeowner won’t mow over it.