N.U.T.S. (Native Urban Tree Starters) is a Cuyahoga SWCD program that directly and actively involves students in the process of restoring the tree canopy in Cuyahoga County. Depending on the interest level and capacity of a school, class or other organization, it may participate in one or more of the following program activities. These activities may also be complimented by Project Learning Tree or incorporated into a variety of subject areas.
Tree Seed/Nut Collection
Students collect acorns, buckeyes, walnuts, maple “helicopters” and other native tree seeds in the fall. They may be collected from school grounds, community parks, tree lawns, the students’ own yards, etc. Cuyahoga SWCD will provide a collection kit that includes bags, tree seed/nut identification guides, and collecting recommendations. Once collected, seeds and nuts are sorted and either returned to Cuyahoga SWCD for germination preparation/treatment, or stored at the school to undergo germination preparation.
Many tree seeds and nuts require cold stratification and other treatments in order to germinate. This process may be completed by Cuyahoga SWCD, or by properly trained partner schools, in which case Cuyahoga SWCD will provide supplies and instruction.
Sprouting & Grow-out
Once the collected seeds and nuts have been properly prepared for germination, they will be planted in nursery bags or similar containers. Trees may need to be transplanted to a larger container once germination is assured and roots become established. Participating schools may choose from the following options:
Cuyahoga SWCD will provide supplies, instruction and follow-up.
Trees will be ready to plant between one year and 18 months following seed collection. Trees may be planted on school grounds or other approved locations in the community, potentially including parks, private property and ecological restoration sites. Cuyahoga SWCD will provide assistance in finding suitable planting locations, planting instruction and oversight, tools, and guidance in caring for your newly planted trees.