ReTreeUS plants educational orchards in public schools and in collaboration with other nonprofits. Orchards typically consist of apple, pear, peach and plum trees and contain signs for self-guided tours. These signs convey valuable lessons such as the environmental benefits of fruit trees, the importance of pollinators and apple history in Maine. ReTreeUS provides ongoing support for the orchards and encouarges teachers to use our orchard-based lessons. Our support is intended to guide your school/organization to cultivate a thriving orchard. Once the trees are planted they are the responsibility of your school/organization to maintain. We are here to help guide you along the way and can schedule seasonal lessons in tree pruning and maintenance.
We are now accepting applications from Maine and New Hampshire.
We have a rolling admission process so don't wait, apply today!
It is the goal of ReTreeUS to cover all the costs of installing orchards and running workshops, but of course, we appreciate any help schools are willing to provide with fund raising and funding. That said, neither funding nor available space is taken into account when approving schools for our services. We will work with virtually any amount of space, and provide schools with orchards at no cost if they are unable to contribute financially. This support, as well as all of our programming, is made possible by members, friends, and donors of ReTreeUS.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of trees do you plant?
Apples, peaches, pears and plums.
How many trees are in a school orchard?
Typically 15-20, however we have planted orchards that are significantly larger and some that are smaller.
How much does a school orchard cost?
We do a great deal of fundraising to plant school orchards. We ask that schools reach out to their community, working with groups such as PTOs, to help raise $500. This is roughly ¼ of our total cost, including materials and overhead. This is not an absolute deal breaker however, and we can typically work to find a solution if the goal of the full $500 cannot be reached.
How much space is needed?
We typically plant semi-dwarf trees that need to be 15-20 feet apart (we like to allow for plenty of space for mowing etc.). An orchard of 15 trees would require at least an area that is 40 feet by 70 feet.
Are there other site requirements?
In order to produce good fruit, our trees need full sunlight, good drainage in the soil and should be within reach of a hose.
What happens with the fruit?
We encourage schools to utilize the fruit for fresh eating or to provide as a snack in the cafeteria. In cases where there is an over-abundance of fruit, we suggest donating fruit to local food pantries. While it is ultimately up to the school how the fruit is utilized, we do ask that the harvest is weighed and kept track of.
When will I hear back about my application?
We review orchard applications on a rolling basis. We will review your application and assess our capacity to fulfill the request. We respond to orchard applications within one month.
When do school orchard plantings take place?
We plant the majority of our school orchards in early May. We also plant some orchards in September and October.
Do you spray the trees?
We currently do not spray anything on school properties and advise against it unless there is a certified applicator at the school and the sprays are safe. We are exploring ways to apply 100% safe, organic sprays to help trees thrive, but at this point do not use any sprays.
Do you plant orchards with private landowners or nonprofits?
We occasionally plant orchards for private landowners, we charge $100 per tree and require a minimum of 5 trees. We plant orchards with partner nonprofits at a significant discount from this rate.