Tree Planting Instructions

Planting Instructions for Deciduous and Evergreen tree seedlings.

Please review our Tree Planting Guide for an all-inclusive guide to planting instructions, species information, and more.
Thank you for participating in our program!!
Happy Earth Day!


Click below for a downloadable PDF of the Tree Planting Instructions:
Need a one-pager? We’ve got you covered!

Something Wonderful is Happening!

March 16, 2021

Dear Friends of Neighborhood Forest,

We have some very exciting new developments to share as we enter our 12th annual free tree giveaway.

I know it has been a tough and unfathomable 12 months for the entire world.  A couple of years ago, even before all the craziness, we thought about calling it quits.  Things were hard.  Things were not moving as we expected. We wondered if our efforts were really making a difference.

Then, we started to get photos like this:

And this:

And, we were like, “we can’t give up now!”

I am so glad we didn’t give up because something wonderful and amazing is happening – right now.

In the past few weeks, we have experienced an incredible, unprecedented, and exhilarating surge of interest in our program, thanks to a small and unassuming library in Michigan!

In the first 11 years of our program, we grew from serving 4 schools in Minneapolis to 150 schools in 14 states – about 10-15 new schools per year.  It was a fairly slow and steady growth over one decade. 

In the past few weeks, we have nearly tripled – adding 250 new institutions – now serving over 400 organizations in 30 states!!

Here’s how it happened…

Three weeks ago, Tamarack District Library in Lakeview, Michigan got wind of our program and asked if they could also participate – they wanted to give trees to the kids they serve.

We had never had a request like this before and even though it was out of the ordinary, we thought, why not? What difference does it make whether we reach kids through schools or libraries?  They signed up and became the first library in the nation to offer trees to kids via Neighborhood Forest.  They were super excited about this and shared our program with a coop of libraries that they are a part of.  Within a day or so, we had 5 libraries signed up in Michigan.

Then, they shared our program in a Library Programming group on Facebook and we essentially went viral – doubling the number of organizations we were serving – in just a few days!

Holy tree roots!

Below is the growing list of libraries, schools, and youth groups that have signed up since Tamarack changed the course of our destiny!

(By the way, we’ve given out Tamarack trees in the past, so this is just so fitting!)

It was all very unexpected, thrilling, and a bit overwhelming.  This was the moment we had been waiting for all these years.  The moment when people would be clamoring from all over to give trees to kids.

We now have the demand for trees we’ve been hoping for and we need to meet it with adequate fundraising. Obviously, this was a growth spurt we hadn’t really planned for.

Our program runs through the generosity of our amazing sponsors:

It costs us about $5 per tree or child.

Consider for a moment, that the average American family creates an annual carbon footprint that is equivalent to what 75 trees sequester in their lifetime. So, for about a dollar a day, Neighborhood Forest can offset a family’s carbon footprint by planting trees through the hands of children – now, tens of thousands of children!

Our sponsorship levels are as follows:

One Child                                       $5 – 1 free tree for a child

Carbon Neutral Individual        $75 – 1 year carbon neutrality for one person (15 free trees)
Carbon Neutral Family            $375 – 1 year carbon neutrality for your family (75 free trees)

Maple                                          $950 – 1 school / library (200 free trees)
Oak                                           $2,500 – 3 schools / libraries (500 free trees)
Sequoia                                    $4,950 – 8 schools / libraries (1,000 free trees)

Forest Builder                      $25,000 – 50 schools / libraries (5,000 free trees)

We can receive payment via Venmo or PayPal (or check) and we can provide a tax-deductible receipt if desired.

I planted this tree 28 years ago. We want to give every child this joy!

Would you or someone you know (an individual, business, or organization) be interested in supporting us this year, given the wonderful, unexpected surge in participation? Every little bit helps!

Feel free to spread the word!

Is your child’s tree still alive?  Please share a current photo of it with your child(ren) on our Facebook page – we love collecting “then and nows” of the kids and their trees.

Thank you so much!

~ Happy Spring ~



Vikas Narula
Neighborhood Forest
5244 Zenith Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55410

New schools, libraries, and youth groups that have joined Neighborhood Forest in the past three weeks!

Tamarack District Library, Lakeview, MI
Diamond Path International School, Apple Valley
Darby Creek, Hilliard, OH
Lakeview Elementary, Lakeview MI
Big Rapids Community Library, Big Rapids MI
Bellaire Public Library, Bellaire MI
Manistee County Library, Manistee, MI
Leelanau Township Library, Northport MI
JFK Elementary, Kingsport, TN
Wildflower Early Learning Center, Savage MN
Keystone Elementary, LaGrange, OH
Bridge Prepatory Charter School, Staten Island, NY
White Cloud Community Library, White Cloud, MI
PS 380 John Wayne Elementary, Brooklyn, NY
PS 35 Clove Valley, Staten Island, NY
Zane North School, Collingswood NJ
BSA Pack 2 Westerleigh (Scouts), Staten Island, NY
Endeavor Library, Montello WI
Darlington Library, Darlington, SC
Beacon Falls Public Library, Beacon Falls CT
Normandale Elementary School, Edina
Keene Public Library, Keene New Hampshire
Knox Public Library, Knox PA
Philmont Public Library, Philmont, NY
Ashby Free Public Library, Ashby MA
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Library, Fort Meyer, VA
Vestal Public Library, Vestal NY
Murrieta Public Library, Murrieta CA
DR Evarts Library, Athens, NY
Bellevue Public Library, Bellevue, ID
Hundred Public Library, Hundred, WV
Tom Green County Public Library, San Angelo TX
Butler Area Public Library, Butler PA
Veterans Memorial Library St. Cloud Branch, St. Cloud, FL
Oakland City-Columbia Twp. Public Library, Oakland City, IN
Liberty Lake Library, Liberty Lake, WA
Star Valley Branch Library, Afton WY
Tyler Public Library, Tyler TX
Barnwell County Public Library, Barnwell SC
Regency Park Branch Library, New Port Richey FL
Mitchellville Public Library, Mitchellville IA
Porter Memorial Library, Blandford MA
Amery Area Public Library, Amery WI
Bartholomew County Public Library, Columbus IN
Alvah N Belding Memorial Library, Belding MI
Brisbane School District, Brisbane CA
Elmont Memorial Public Library, Elmont NY
Three Oaks Township Public Library, Three Oaks MI
Kewaunee Grade School, Kewaunee WI
Rapides Parish Library, Alexandria LA
Carnegie Library of Homestead, Munhall PA
Olive Free LIbrary Association, West Shokan NY
Wickliffe Public Library, Wickliffe OH
Lebo Branch Library, Lebo KS
Kalamazoo Public Library, MI
Mercer County Public Library, Harrodsburg KY
New River Public Library, Wesley Chapel FL
Pike County Public Libraries – Phelps Branch KY
Clayton County Morrow Library, Morrow GA
Buchanan Elementary School PTA, Murrieta CA
Emily Brittain Elementary School, Butler PA
Collingswood Middle School, Collingswood NJ
Unicoi County Public Library, Erwin TN
Tangier Smith Elementary, Mastic Beach NY
Ida Public Library, Belvidere IL
Leighton Township Library, Wayland MI
Hoffman Trails Elementary, Hilliard OH
Benson Memorial Library, Titusville PA
Anderson-Lee Library, Silver Creek NY
Malta Township Public Library, Malta IL
Evans City Public Library, Evans City PA
Chester Public Library, Chester CT
W.G. Rhea Public Library, Paris TN
Juniata County Library, Mifflintown PA
Cromwell Belden Public Library 
Glen Ellyn Public Library, Glen Ellyn IL
Novel Academy, Lake Elsinore CA
Lima Public Library, Lima OH
Southside Elementary, Shelbyville KY
Cranberry Public Library, Cranberry Township PA
Glen Lake Community Library, Empire MI
Belen Public Library, Belen NM
Brandon Free Public Library, Brandon VT
Red Bank Public Library, Red Bank NJ
Young Men’s Library Association, Ware MA
Pike County Public Library, Pikeville KY
Pike County Public Libraries, Phelps KY
Cass District Library, Cassopolis MI
Butler Catholic School, Butler PA
Slippery Rock Community Library, Slippery Rock PA
Lincoln County Library, Kemmerer WY
Crowne Hill Elementary School, Temecula CA
Prospect Community Library, Prospect PA
Owensville Carnegie Public Library, Owensville IN
Missoula Public Library, Missoula MT
Ventress Memorial Library, Marshfield, MA
Rock Falls Public Library District, Rock Falls IL
Early Learning Connections, Butler PA
Chippewa Falls Public Library, Chippewa Falls WI
Amazing Grace Worship youth, Sidney KY
Saegertown Area Library, Saegertown PA
Union Public Library, Union NJ
Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines Troop 661, Sartell MN
Northland Public Library, Pittsburgh PA
Stillwater County Library, Columbus MT
Salem Public Library, Salem VA
Albert Chapman Elementary School, Powell OH
Elkhorn City Elementary, Elkhorn City KY
Reed City Area District Library, Reed City MI
Middletown Public Library, Middletown RI
The Goddard School Beachwood, Beachwood OH
CubScouts pack 614, Murrieta CA
HIS Kids Christian School, Butler PA
Western Elementary School, Centertown KY
Verndale Area Christian Academy, Verndale MN
Wood Family Home School, Afton WY
Taunton Public Library, Taunton MA
Plymouth Public Library, Plymouth MA
McKinley Memorial Library, Niles OH
Carver Memorial Library, Searsport ME
Washington Elementary School, Dublin OH
Hamilton Public Library, Hamilton NY
Riverview Elementary/ Middle School, Grundy VA
Central Middle School, Golden IL
Slater Public Library, Slater IA
Interstate 35 Elementary School, Truro IA
Leelanau Montessori Public School Academy, Lake Leelanau MI
Girl scout troop 71303 gsmh – Weir KS
Carolina International School – Concord NC
Lillian C. Schmitt Elementary – Columbus IN
Bright Horizons at Tel Hai, Honey Brook PA
Pasadena Public Library – Pasadena TX
PS 44 Thomas C Brown, Staten Island NY
La Barge Branch Library, La Barge WY
Warrior Run Middle School – Turbotville PA
Sutton County Public Library – Sonora TX
Jasper County Public Library Rensselaer Branch, Rensselaer IN
Little Dixie Regional Libraries – Moberly MO
Geary Elementary Middle School – Left Hand WV
Fairview Elementary – Richmond IN
Lawrence Memorial Library, Bristol VT
Christina’s Daycare, Dixon IL
Barrett Elementary, Homestead PA
BSA Troop 1907, Houston TX
Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library – Opelika AL
Lincoln Public Library – Lincoln CA
Pasco County Libraries – Hudson FL
Land O’Lakes Library – Land O’Lakes FL
Centennial Park Library – Holiday FL
Columbia County Public Library – Lake City FL
South Holiday Library – Holiday FL
Navigator Academy of Leadership – Valrico FL
Twin Falls Public Library – Twin Falls ID
Zion Benton Public Library – Zion IL
Girl Scouts Earth Day Event – Quincy IL
Evergreen Park Public Library – Evergreen Park IL
Peoria Public Library – Peoria IL
Edwardsville Public Library – Edwardsville IL
Seneca Public Library District – Seneca IL
Jasper County Public Library – DeMotte IN
South Whitley Community Public Library – South Whitely IN
Ligonier Public Library – Ligonier IN
Covington Public Library – Covington IN
Brook Iroquois Washington Public Library – Brook IN
Jasper County Public Library – Wheatfield IN
Churdan Public Library – Churdan IA
McCreary Public Library – Whitley City KY
Weymouth Elementary School – Morrill ME
Ames Elementary School – Searsmont ME
Washington County Free Library – Hagerstown MD
Berkshire Athenaeum – Pittsfield MA
Community District Library – Coldwater MI
Community District Library – Bancroft MI
Community District Library – New Lothrop MI
Community District Library – Byron MI
Community District Library – Lennon MI
Community District Library – Morrice MI
Community District Library – Corunna MI
Lapeer District Library – Lapeer MI
Pearl River County Library System – Picayune MS
The Paris Dulaney Memorial Library – Paris MO
Paris Elementary – Paris MO
Montgomery Co R-II Middle School – Montgomery City MO
St. Francis Catholic School – Billings MT
Kimball Public Library – Kimball NE
Butler Memorial Library – Cambridge NE
First Congregational UCC – Albuquerque NM
Sidney Memorial Public Library – Sidney NY
Cazenovia Public Library – Cazenovia NY
Kingston Library – Kingston NY
Kent Public Library – Kent Lakes NY
Cub Scout Pack 123 – Jamestown NY
Phoenicia Elementary School – Phoenicia NY
Maxwell Memorial Library – Camillus NY
Sharon Hill Daycare and Preschool – Cincinnatti OH
North Canton Public Library – North Canton OH
Girl Scout Troop #796 of Ohio’s Heartland – Dublin OH
Scottish Corners Elementary – Dublin OH
Franklin Public Library – Franklin PA
Southmoreland Primary Center – Alverton PA
Vandergrift Public Library – Vandergrift PA
Hollidaysburg Area Public Library – Hollidaysburg PA
Troop/Pack 217 – Chicora PA
West Mifflin Middle School – West Mifflin PA
Chippewa Branch Library – Beaver Falls PA
Chicora Elementary School – Chicora PA
West Warwick Public Library – West Warwick RI
Johnsonville Public Library – Johnsonville SC
Dell Rapids Carnegie Public Library – Dell Rapids SD
Victoria Public Library – Victoria TX
Bent Northrop Memorial Library – Fairfield VT
Alburgh Public Library – Alburgh VT
Readsboro Community Library – Readsboro VT
Denmark Early Childhood Center – Denmark WI
Grantsburg Public Library – Grantsburg WI
Lakeview Community Library – Random Lake WI
Alpine Branch Library – Alpine WY

Earth Day 2020

Dear Families,

I hope this message finds you and yours well, safe, and healthy.

It seems that Mother Nature has given us all a big time-out.  

Everything has slowed way down, if not shut down completely.  People are working remotely.  Restaurants are offering take-out only.  Sports canceled. Schools closed.

Thousands of health-care workers are on the front lines working to save lives – bless their souls.


Who would have imagined?

50 years of Earth Day is upon us and fortunately, the worldwide pandemic cannot prevent us from planting trees! While some schools have canceled the giveaway in light of the current circumstances, many schools have decided to proceed as planned – finding creative ways to get trees in your hand.  Some are combining giveaways with existing lunch programs and / or setting up a pick-up schedule.

We salute the teachers, principals, volunteers, and parents who have found creative ways to keep this program going for its 11th straight year!

And, we honor and respect those schools and leaders who decided to opt-out.  No offense taken!  In these unusual times, it is most important that we take care of ourselves first and those around us.

Most of the trees will be arriving this week in time for Earth Day (April 22). Distributions will be happening throughout this week and the following.
If you have not received any pick-up instructions, please contact us.

Here are some simple planting instructions, along with species information for the beautiful little trees coming your way.

Please send us a pic of your child(ren) and their newly planted tree and share it with us via our Facebook page.

We love collecting “then and nows” of our growing babies!

Thank you again, school coordinators, teachers, parents, kids, volunteers, and sponsors for your participation in our program and for taking a small but important step in beautifying your community and our world.


Vikas Narula, Founder of Neighborhood Forest


White Spruce

Many of you will be receiving a White Spruce through Neighborhood Forest and The Family of Trees this spring (Earth Day / Week 2020).

Here is some information about this beautiful tree.

The white spruce grows to a height of 40–60 feet and a spread of 10–20 feet at maturity. This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24 inches per year.

This tree thrives in a lot of sunlight – ideally six hours of direct sunlight per day. The white spruce grows well in a variety of different soils and has some drought tolerance.

The white spruce does well when transplanted. It can withstand wind, heat, cold, drought, crowding and some shade. It does well in cities and often serves as rural windbreaks.

You can find simple planting instructions here.

Aside from providing nesting for birds and shelter for other animals, white spruces provide food for many kinds of wildlife. Crossbills, evening grosbeaks, and red-breasted nuthatches feed on its seeds. The foliage is eaten by grouse, rabbits, and deer. Red squirrels bite open cones to eat the seeds, and they delight upon young, tender spruce shoots.

When Jacques Cartier sailed up the broad St. Lawrence River in 1535, he became the first European to see North America’s white spruces. As he laid claim to the lands he beheld, he proclaimed them to be “as beautiful…as one could wish for.” The trees, he said, were “the finest trees in the world.”

Tree Planting Instructions

Below are simple planting instructions for deciduous and pine tree seedlings.

For a more complete, interactive tree planting lesson, please visit this page.

Thank you for participating in our program!

Happy Earth Day!

Click here for a downloadable version of Tree Planting Instructions

We’re in the Home Stretch!

Posted on April 5, 2017 by vnarula

Spring has sprung!

That’s right. In just a few weeks, the tree giveaway will be happening at schools and communities across the US (and even in parts of Canada!).

Did you register for a tree this year? Awesome! You’re all set.

Slipped your mind? Forgot to tie that string on your finger? That’s okay. You’ve earned your good karma points. You still have a chance to register for a tree until Sunday, April 9 even if your school’s deadline has passed.

Is your child’s school participating this year? Can’t remember? You can find out here. Don’t see your child’s school on the list? That’s okay too. You can sign up here. (Make sure you do this on a tablet, laptop or desk computer.)

Spring may be the season for tree planting, but there’s some “family members” that haven’t been feeling the tree hugging love.

You might know one or two. We know one. Surprised how we overlooked him. He loves to dig. He loves dirt and after fire hydrants trees are his best friend. If anyone was a natural at tree planting (or tree wetting!), it’s him!

So rather than feeling left out this year, he took the initiative. We still don’t know how he learned to type. But that’s for another day.

Right now it’s time to exhale, lift our heads up and stretch towards Earth Day. As you enjoy this spring season with its blossoming flowers, blue skies and warmer weather, remember to keep your umbrellas handy. It’s going to be raining trees for the next few weeks!

We Boogied Down!

Posted on May 18, 2014 by vnarula

Yes, we got our groove on with Mama Earth this year. Two states.  26 schools. Nearly 2500 trees planted.

A big thanks to all our wonderful sponsors who made it possible.

Of course, a big thanks goes out to our participating schools, our incredible school coordinators, the teachers, the parents, and, of course, the children. Your support and participation helped make this year’s tree giveaway our best one yet!

Stay tuned. We’ve got more in store for 2015.  More schools joining us, more trees to be given away and more smiles to bring to the kids.

We hope you enjoy some of these highlights from Earth Week 2014!

Earth Day is Coming. The New Hires are Waiting.

Posted on April 6, 2013 by vnarula

“Mr. Finneas, your 9 am is here.”

“Send him in.”

Door creaks open.

“Come in, come in. You must be Mr. Quercus Alba.”

“Yes, sir. But you can call me Bob.”

“Sure Bob. Please have a seat.”

“I prefer to stand, sir.”

“Sure. Look, Bob, we reviewed your resume and here’s what we think: it’s outstanding. Graduated top of your class. Strong commitment to community service. Ivy League.”

“It’s actually oak, sir.”

“Right. What’s more, you have an impressive skill set.”

“Well, it’s nothing really…I…”

“Nothing? Produce oxygen, improve air quality, clean the soil, control noise pollution, slow storm water run off, provide shade, act as a windbreak, fight soil erosion…”

“Create spreadsheets.”



“Right. Look Bob, your skills are great, but we’re concerned about our bottom line here at Finneas and Fir, and well, you know…”

“Money doesn’t grow on trees, right?”


“Wrong, sir. I increase property values too.”


“Second page, sir, under additional qualifications — next to eye for detail.”

“Right. Well, I think that settles it. Congratulations Bob. You’re hired. Now if we only had more overachievers like you on board, we’d be able to cut out some of the deadwood around here.”

“Excuse me, sir?”

“Figure of speech.”


If trees were employees, anyone would hire them. They are great workers. They don’t take vacations, they work long hours and definitely don’t embarrass themselves at office parties.

Like any great worker, they impact the environment around them. The roles that trees play in our neighborhoods and our communities directly affect the quality of our air, water and soil. What are some of those roles?

Trees make our lungs happy by cleaning the air. They take in carbon dioxide through their leaves and give off oxygen we need to breathe. A mature tree pumps out as much oxygen in one season as 10 people will inhale in an entire year.

When there’s rain, a tree’s roots help hold soil in place to prevent erosion, which not only saves soil but also keeps our streams, rivers and lakes cleaner.

“Trees, these wonderful stewards of the Earth, deserve our appreciation. On April 22, Earth Day, we invite you to spread the love.”

Of course, they are many ways in which trees affect our environment. That’s why these wonderful stewards of the Earth deserve our appreciation. On April 22, Earth Day, we invite you to spread the love.

On Earth Day we’re giving hundreds of trees away to over 10 schools throughout the Twin Cities. If you’re the parent of a child getting a tree, plant it with them and make it an event. Post a picture on Facebook or tweet about it to your friends and family. Your tree will love all the attention.

The trees are ready to meet their new families this Earth Day. Make them feel welcome. They’ve got a lot of work to do!

For more information on the many ways in which trees affect our urban environments, check out this excellent video.