SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) annual tree and shrub spring seedling sale has kicked off at the Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery in Saratoga Springs. The sale is open to the public and runs until May 12.

There are many environmental, economic, and social reasons to plant trees, said DEC. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making them a tool in the fight against climate change. Trees also lower heating and cooling costs, provide food and shelter for native wildlife, improve water quality by filtering runoff, prevent erosion, and increase overall public health and well-being.

More than 50 conifer and hardwood species are available in bundles of 25 or more. Several mixed species packets are also available. Seedlings are a minimum of five inches tall and one to three years old depending on the species.

Some seedlings sell out fast, so the DEC recommends placing your order by calling (518) 587-1120, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. An invoice will then be sent to you in the mail or by e-mail.

DEC is also accepting applications for the nursery’s School Seedling Program. From now until March 31, schools and youth education organizations across New York can apply to receive up to 50 free tree or shrub seedlings to plant with their students.