Home Department of Forestry looking to expand native plant discount program in 2024
Environment, Virginia

Department of Forestry looking to expand native plant discount program in 2024

Crystal Graham
native plant Virginia mountain laurel
Mountain laurel, a plant species native to Virginia. (Photo courtesy DCR).

The Virginia Department of Forestry is looking for additional retail nurseries to grow its Throwing Shade VA program. The program offers discounts on native trees and shrubs.

This year, the Virginia DOF did a pilot run at three retail nurseries in Burke, Woodstock and Virginia Beach. During the two-month program, 1,555 natives were purchased and planted across Virginia.

In 2024, DOF will expand participation to 10 nurseries. From March 1 to May 1, customers may visit a participating nursery, choose an eligible native tree or shrub and scan a QR code to receive a discount of $25 on purchases of $50 or more.

Funded through state water quality improvement dollars, DOF reimburses participating nurseries for the customer discounts. The program incentivizes customers to buy and plant native species in the Commonwealth that in turn provide numerous benefits to our ecosystem and watersheds.

“We are very pleased to expand the successful Throwing Shade VA program that helps the Virginia Department of Forestry spread the word about the benefits of choosing natives while allowing us to measure progress towards Virginia’s water and Chesapeake Bay watershed goals,” said DOF Urban and Community Forestry Partnership Coordinator Molly O’Liddy. “Last year’s successful pilot resulted in getting more than 1,500 trees in the ground that will provide shade, reduce temperatures and offer more ecosystem benefits, especially for essential pollinators.”

Nurseries interested in participating in 2024 should visit the DOF website.

The deadline for nurseries to apply is Dec. 14.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.