Tree Fair 2019

North Port City Commissioner Alice White, who has previously been named North Port’s Greenest Citizen, teaches about trees at the 2019 Tree Fair. She is the founder of People for Trees and hosts the fair every year in North Port.

NORTH PORT — If you’re looking to add a bit more shade to your backyard, you might want to check out an event planned for Saturday at the City Center Green in North Port.

The annual Tree Fair sponsored by People for Trees will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 24, at 4970 City Hall Blvd., North Port

Hundreds of 3-gallon native trees, ranging from 4 to 8 feet tall, will be for sale for $15 each. They include sweetgum, elm, bald cypress, slash pine, longleaf pine, southern red cedar, dahoon holly, pignut hickory, red maple, sycamore and sugarberry.

“We will also have Walter’s viburnum, a native shrub,” said Alice White, founder of People for Trees and organizer of the event. “Florida has a very diverse landscape and we need to accommodate our wildlife with different types of trees. Hardly any sweetgums were seen in this area 20 years ago. It’s a symmetrical tree, becoming more rounded with age. We use it in school playgrounds.”

White, who is also a North Port City commissioner, will be giving informational “Tree Walk and Talks” about all of the native trees with attendees at the event.

There will also be tree-planting and tree-climbing demonstrations.

“Florida master gardeners will be in the tree nursery area to advise on what kind of trees would work best for your yard, and they’ll share information about Florida-friendly gardening,” White said. “We’re going to have certified arborist Steve Grant from Green Topps Landscaping on site to advise how to properly prune trees.”

The event was canceled last year due to COVID-19. About 300 people attended in 2019.

“It’s been growing each year and we’ve upped our order for the trees,” White said. “We’ll have several hundred trees available on Saturday.”

White started the nonprofit native tree advocacy group in North Port in 1997 and the first Tree Fair was held in 1999.

“Our mission is to promote the importance of our native tree canopy,” White said. “We want to keep as many existing mature trees and plant new ones by educating people.”

There will be music and food trucks at the event, and Peace River Wildlife will be bringing a barred owl and volunteers will talk about their work and their mission.

“We are giving away 1-gallon trees to kids who take a pledge to promise they will care for the tree by giving it enough water and sun,” White said.

This is the first year the event is being held at the City Center Green.

“I think it’s the perfect place for the fair,” White said. “I’m excited and hope people come check it out on Saturday.”

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