The South Portland Land Trust will distribute free cedar tree seedlings to local residents over the next two Saturdays.

The South Portland Land Trust will be giving away free cedar saplings at Mill Creek Park on May 23 and May 30. Volunteers will bring the seedlings to people’s cars. Photo courtesy of Richard Rottkov

The trust has received a donation of 1,000 Northern White Cedar seedlings that will be distributed in pre-bundled sets of 10, said Richard Rottkov, trust president.

The trees are ready for planting and will be available for pickup this Saturday and May 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Mill Creek Park, across from Hannaford on Cottage Road.

In keeping with social distancing mandates, trust volunteers will hand bundles through open car windows or place them in the trunks of cars.

The trees are part of the trust’s effort to preserve green space as vital to a healthy ecosystem and encourage local action to combat climate change, Rottkov said.

Every young tree absorbs about 13 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and full-grown trees absorb four times that amount. Trees also host a variety of birds and other animals, prevent erosion and mediate the effects of flooding, drought, summer heat and storm surges.

“Planting a tree may seem like a small action, given that climate change is a crisis that spans our globe,” Rottkov said. “However, these little trees can add up to one big difference.”

Donated by Cedar Works of Rockland, Northern White Cedars can be planted as a hedge or windbreak, or used as a stand-alone feature in a landscape.

They grow best in areas that get at least six hours of direct sun daily. Full-grown cedars span 10 to 15 feet and reach a height of 40 to 60 feet.

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