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Ralls: Winnebago County Conservation Board spring tree giveaway is May 5

Ralls: Winnebago County Conservation Board spring tree giveaway is May 5

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Arrowwood tree

Arrowwood is one of the varieties of seedlings being offered in this year's WCCB Spring Tree Giveaway on May 5.

Each spring, the Winnebago County Conservation Board encourages people to plant trees and shrubs by offering free seedlings.

Last year, the annual giveaway was canceled due to COVID-19. This year, the spring tree giveaway is back and will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on May 5.

As in the past, the seedlings will be handed out at the Thorpe Park office, located five miles west of Forest City, on 345th/I Street. In adherence with Covid protocols, people this year are being asked to wear masks when they stop by to pick up their seedling.

This year’s varieties of trees and shrubs are attractive and beneficial to various wildlife species. The species that will be given away this year are Arrowwood, River Birch, Hackberry, and Serviceberry.

These species are excellent for attracting songbirds, pollinators, and other wildlife, but also provide the same benefits of all trees and shrubs, such as cleaning the air, holding soil in place, reducing rainwater runoff, and providing shade. Strategically placed around homes, trees and shrubs can also help to reduce the use of air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. They are also aesthetically pleasing, adding beauty toyards and towns.

Only 25 seedlings of each species will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. As a result, quantities will be limited to one seedling per person. Later in the day, that limit may be waived if it appears that there may be trees left over.

The WCCB will keep people posted on how many trees are still available throughout the day on its Facebook page and Twitter feed. Links to information about each species can be found on the events page on the Winnebago County Conservation Board web site ( Information will also be available at the park as will instructions about how to plant the seedlings.

For more information about the spring tree giveaway, contact Winnebago County Naturalist Lisa Ralls at either 641-565-3390 or at


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