Native Seedling Sale

The district's annual seedling sale makes low-cost bare-root native shrub and tree seedlings available to Northern Virginia residents. Seedling packages are announced in January, go on sale in February and are available for pickup in late April or early May. Trees and shrubs help cleanse water, prevent soil erosion, provide habitat, cool our climate and clean our air. Consider adding native trees and shrubs to your community today!


Back By Popular Demand

Seedling sale participants often come back and tell us about favorite seedlings from past years. The 2016 seedling sale features shrubs and trees that have been some of the most popular and most requested year after year. Enjoy!

The Shrub and Small Tree Package features 10 seedlings for $16.95. The Tree Package includes 6 seedlings sold for $11.95. A full, nonrefundable payment must accompany your order by Wednesday, April 20, or until supplies run out. You will receive a confirmation receipt with a map to the pickup site at the Packard Center in Annandale. Orders may be picked up on Friday, April 29, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., or Saturday, April 30, 9:00 a.m.-noon.

Order Online Starting February 1

Help us streamline our operations by paying online with a credit card, debit card or e-check. Orders for 2016 seedling packages open February 1. Please follow this link to our online seedling sale store. View online seedling sale store:

Tree Package (6 Seedlings for $11.95)

2 Redbud (Cercis canadensis) - Pink Ribbon


Large, multi-stemmed; grows to 20 feet. Distinctive heart-shaped leaves. Beautiful clusters of pink, pea-like blooms appear in early spring. Sun to part shade. 

Hardiness Zone 4-9.

Photo Credit: University of Connecticut Horticulture

2 American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) - Black Ribbon


Also Ironwood or Musclewood. Sinewy bark, attracts birds and butterflies. Best in moist soil, but is tolerant of dry sites. Slow-growing, shade-tolerant, 13 to 40 feet. 

Hardiness Zone 4-9.

Photo Credit: Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, Maryland

2 Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) - Orange Ribbon


Fragrant white spring flowers. Slow growing, typically 20-40 feet, up to 75 ft. Distinctive bark and fall color. Edible orange fruits on female plants in fall. Sun to partial shade.

Hardiness Zone 3-9.

Photo Credit: Larry Allain, hosted by USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Shrub and Small Tree Package (10 Seedlings for $16.95)

2 Red chokeberry (Photinia pyrifolia) - Red Ribbon

Red chokeberry

Delicate white blossoms in spring, brilliant red fall foliage and rich scarlet berry clusters in winter. Will sucker and spread, grows to 10 feet. Prefers sun to part shade. 

Hardiness Zone 4-9.

Photo Credit: Missouri Botanical Garden

2 Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) - Blue Ribbon

Northern Bayberry

Semievergreen leaves aromatic when crushed. Waxy-gray berries in fall and winter. Grows in poor, sandy soil, salt tolerant. Sunny or part-sun. Grows to 5-12 feet. 

Hardiness Zone 3-7.

Photo Credit: The Dow Gardens Archive, Dow Gardens,

2 Indigobush (Amorpha fruticosa) - Green Ribbon


Great for native bee, butterflies and other nectar insects. Fast grower reaching 8 to 15 feet in part shade or full sun with 1 to 3 inch long light brown to purple flowers. 

Hardiness Zone 3-8.

Photo Credit: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

2 American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) - Yellow Ribbon


Height to 30 feet. Multistemmed shrub valued for its distinctive catkins, copper-red to yellow fall color, edible nuts and naturalistic form. Ideal for dry sites with poor soil. Prefers partial shade. 10-15 feet.

Hardiness Zone 4-9.

2 Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) - White Ribbon

Flowering Dogwood

Beautiful native ornamental, state tree of Virginia. 20-40 feet especially in rich, moist soil. Understory tree, does well in partial sun.

Hardiness Zone 5-8.

Photo Credit: William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International,

Hardiness Zone

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map shows 10 different zones, each of which represents an area of winter hardiness for plants. Fairfax County falls into zones 6b-7a. All of our seedlings are suited for planting in the greater Washington, DC area.

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Looking for last year's plants?

See 2015 Seedling Sale for last year's plant names, descriptions, and ribbon color.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of our most frequently asked Seedling Sale questions and helpful answers from NVSWCD staff.

What’s the skinny on the Seedling Sale?

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District holds a Native Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale each spring. The theme and exact species vary from year to year. Orders open online in February. In 2016, pickup is on April 29 and 30 at the Packard Center in Annandale.

When should I place my order?

Please order early! In 2016, online ordering opens in February and will continue until Wednesday, April 20. If that date has passed, don’t panic, there may still be an opportunity to purchase a package.

Are there extras? Can I just show up at pickup?

Yes, but... If you don’t make the pre-order deadline, we cannot guarantee that you will get the tree or shrub package of your choice. We often do have extra packages or individual seedlings for sale on the pickup days (April 29 and 30).

Can my spouse/child/parent/neighbor/best friend pick up my order for me?

Yes. They will need to have your first and last name and a generally honest disposition. A printout of the order confirmation is helpful but not required. No need to notify us in advance.

What happens if I miss the pickup date?

Don’t miss the pickup date! If you can’t make it, please send a friend! (See above.) If you do miss it, you can coordinate to pick them up from our office during business hours the following week. If they go unclaimed, we reserve the right to donate them before they dry out. Seedling sale purchases are nonrefundable.

How large are the packages?Small boy and girl hold seedling packages

Smaller than you might think! These are first- and second-year bare-root trees and shrubs, which means they are small and come without soil. We add a colored ribbon, put together each package, and wrap the roots in wet newspaper and a plastic bag to keep them moist. In the photo at right, each child is holding one package. Each package of 6-10 seedlings bundled together is typically 1-3 feet long and 4-6 inches wide.

What should I bring with me for pickup?

A small bucket or basket. You don’t want the package to tip over and spill water on your backseat. Don’t have a bucket? A sturdy double paper bag or large trash bag will do the job.

How do I care for them?

Keep the roots moist and plant your seedlings as soon as possible. We provide a planting guide when you pick up your seedlings. Dig a hole wider than it is deep. We recommend watering throughout the summer for the first year, especially if your tree or shrub is in direct sunlight. Fertilizer is not needed. A light top-dressing of leaf mulch is optional.

How fast will they grow?

The seedlings typically start out in a dormant state, but when cared for properly, they can grow into lovely landscape specimens faster than you think. Each species has a different growing speed. Since it can be difficult to protect a small first-year seedling from mowers, deer, rabbits and – occasionally – human feet, we include two of every species in the packages.

Rarely – once every several years – we have had a supplier issue (not VDOF) where a large number of seedlings of a particular shrub or tree have not survived. In those cases, we give feedback to the supplier and monitor their seedlings in following years to ensure that it is not a repeat occurrence. Even when that happens, we believe the benefit and low cost we offer by purchasing in bulk outweighs the risk. It’s still a great deal!

Where do you get the seedlings?

The Virginia Department of Forestry is our main provider of bare-root seedlings. We like to support our state forestry department and help increase demand for native trees and shrubs. We also purchase seedlings from other neighboring states and private nurseries.

What are the funds used for?

Good question! First, the funds cover the cost of the seedlings and associated program costs. NVSWCD uses any leftover funds to support educational programs, including the high school Envirothon competition, biological stream monitoring, storm drain education, Youth Conservation Camp, Science Fair awards, and other outreach activities. Thank you for supporting these efforts through the Seedling Sale!

Have more questions? Feel free to contact us.

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