Need trees but don’t want to spend a fortune? Here are resources for affordable trees.
Arbor Day Foundation
You will get 10 free trees when you join the Arbor Day Foundation.
Members get about a 36% discount on trees. We joined and a few friends joined giving us what trees they could not use.
They have several “Tree Seedlings in Bulk” sold in bundles of 50 for $39. The bundles are mostly Maple, Oak, Spruce, Pine, Fir, Red bud, and Tulip poplar.
Other trees, shrubs, and vines available but not in bulk such as Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Peach, Pear, Plum, Chestnut, Hazelnut, and many more. Full list of plants available from Arbor Day Foundation.
The state nursery usually has less a selection compared to Arbor Day but the prices are usually great. For example KY state nursery has Conifers, Fruit, Nut, and Legume trees a bundle of 10 costs $30 and a bundle of 100 for $55. Prices and availability will vary by state.
Check with your local agricultural extension office at times they will give away trees. I got some free trees last year to help replace the dead ash trees on our property, including tulip poplar and persimmon seedlings.
Seeds can be used to grow trees (shocking, I know). Although several trees like apples are not true to parent meaning that the Golden Delicious seed you planted could be completely different than its mother. That is only a problem if you insist on having a specific variety, if you do not like the variety the seed becomes it can always be use as root stock to graft a known variety on to. In general if you can buy seeds in bulk there will be a large break in price. Seeds for purchase might be hard to find in catalogs, so you might want to check Amazon or Ebay.
The cheapest way to get trees is to save seeds. Save the seed of every fruit that you like to eat. Ask friends, family, co-workers, and that guy on the bus that is always eating fruit to save you seeds. You can keep them dried, but will usually need to cold-stratify them, so we find it easiest to keep them in a moist medium (damp paper towels or soil) in the fridge
Several plants will send out roots from cuttings this will allow for a clone of the source plant. There are several methods that can be used for rooting cuttings: using a misting bed, placing in a jar of water, or even shoving the cut end into moist soil and letting it go. In the future we hope to experiment with these methods and document our failures and successes.