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Janet Laminack / Horticulture

Trees do double duty

Every year, the Denton County Soil and Water Conservation District has a tree seedling sale. This is a great opportunity to get affordable trees for a good cause. All proceeds benefit the Cool Shade for Third Grade program in Denton County schools.

Cool Shade for Third Grade happens in October when Master Gardeners deliver 2,100 seedling trees to third-graders in The Colony, Flower Mound, Aubrey, Lewisville, Carrollton, Highland Village, Frisco, Argyle, Pilot Point and Ponder. In case you are wondering about third-graders in Denton, they receive redbud seedlings in the spring as part of Keep Denton Beautiful’s Children’s Arbor Day program, also a Master Gardener collaboration.

Both of these programs include a short educational presentation about the importance and value of trees for water quality, windbreaks, soil protection, wildlife habitat and oxygen.

Tree seedlings that are available for sale are Afghanistan pine, Austrian pine, deodar cedar and lacebark elm for $4 per 6- to 12-inch tall tree. Also available are bare-root pecans for $3. And there are 1-gallon potted trees for $9.50, including bur oak, live oak, Mexican white oak, shumard oak, cedar elm, roughleaf dogwood, desert willow, Mexican plum and vitex. Also, SWCD is offering a native Texas wildflower mix in small packets for $2 each.

Additionally, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Weatherford has recently published an outstanding resource book, Range Plants of North Central Texas: A Land User’s Guide to Their Identification, Value and Management by Ricky J. Linex. This 300-plus-page book contains multiple color photographs of each plant, along with information on its identification, bloom period, distribution, value to livestock and wildlife and how to properly manage. It is a terrific resource and, in my opinion, definitely worth more than the $20 asking price.

Orders for the book and seedlings are being taken now and pickup will be on Friday, Feb. 27, at the North Texas Fairgrounds in Denton. Orders are reserved upon payment, and quantities are limited. Mail or submit orders to Denton County SWCD, 525 S. Loop 288, Suite C-1, Denton, TX 76205. If you have questions, call 940-383-2691, ext. 3, or visit the USDA Service Center in Denton.

And as always, contact us at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension with your garden and landscape questions at 940-349-2892 or email us at

JANET LAMINACK is the horticulture county extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2883 or