Cleveland, OH

Cuyahoga SWCD's NUTS program

Terrence Jacobs
Eyoel Kahssay/Unsplash

CLEVELAND, OH — NUTS or Native Urban Tree Starters is a Cuyahoga SWCD program that incorporates students directly and actively in the process of restoring Cuyahoga County's tree canopy.

A school, class, or other groups may participate in one or more of the following program activities, depending on its level of interest and capacity.

Tree Seed/Nut Collection

In the fall, students gather acorns, buckeyes, walnuts, maple "helicopters", and other native tree seeds. They can be found on school grounds, neighborhood parks, tree lawns, and students' yards, among other places.

A collection package will be provided by Cuyahoga SWCD, which will contain bags, tree seed/nut identification guides, and collection guidelines. Seeds and nuts are gathered and sorted before being sent to Cuyahoga SWCD for germination preparation/treatment or stored at the school for germination preparation.

Germination Preparation

To germinate, many tree seeds and nuts require cold stratification and other treatments. Cuyahoga SWCD or appropriately educated partner schools can execute this process, in which case Cuyahoga SWCD will supply resources and guidance.

Sprouting and Grow-out

The collected seeds and nuts will be planted in nursery bags or similar containers once adequately prepared for germination. Once germination is confirmed, and roots have formed, trees may need to be moved to a larger container. The following choices are available for participating schools:

  • In a greenhouse, classroom, or other approved on-site location, plant and care for the seedlings.
  • At an off-site partner location, plant the seedlings for care.

The Cuyahoga SWCD will provide supplies, instruction and follow-up.

Plant Trees!

Following seed collecting, trees will be ready to plant in one to 18 months. Trees may be planted on school grounds or in other community-approved locations, such as parks, private land, and ecological restoration sites.

Cuyahoga SWCD will assist you in locating suitable planting places, providing planting instruction and oversight, as well as materials and information on how to care for your freshly planted trees.

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