For many of us, Spring 2020 was packed with dreams of new growth, freshly planted tree seedlings, volunteer events, and plant sales! Despite current world events, a beautiful spring still arrived, along with all of the lovely tulips, lilacs, and for those fungi lovers….morels!

Local nurseries, deemed essential businesses, have worked hard to supply us with our native species. Fortunately, a majority of the deliveries were still on schedule. Despite our canceled events, Alliance staff found themselves with thousands of trees that needed to be placed into the soil!

Timing is crucial for these plants. Live stakes, often cut during their dormancy in March, need to be installed into their streamside homes shortly after harvesting them. Containerized tree seedlings can be planted as long as the ground is not frozen, but before the weather warms up to temperatures brought on by early to mid May.

Through the use of local contractors and in-house muscle, the Pennsylvania staff was able to plant several riparian buffers sites while still practicing safe distancing. Over a third of our scheduled plantings will still make it in the ground this spring, with many others being pushed until the fall season. Additionally, the Alliance planted 235 acres of trees in Maryland and Virginia this spring as well.

In order to make this all work, the staff had to make a few changes. Each of us drives separately to the site, and we carry our own tools. We divide the planting up into sections so that we can all work safety from a distance to get the job done. While we miss seeing the faces of our volunteers and coworkers, it has been nice to be able to still take action for the health of our communities!

We wish everyone a safe spring season and want to remind folks that now is a great time to plant your native trees and shrubs in your own backyard! Cheers!