Mission

The Heritage Nursery is a program of Tree Pittsburgh, and promotes healthy forest ecosystems by collecting and growing seeds that thrive in our region’s climate. We partner with local environmental groups, contractors, designers and individuals to provide locally adapted trees for planting projects.

Our Story

drawn-purple-hemlock-lft

Growing Trees for Healthy Forests

When Pittsburgh was first settled, the region boasted abundant and diverse forests, thriving with rich ecological communities and services. But after nearly two centuries of industrialization, mining, and more recently urban sprawl, much of our region’s natural landscape has been left fragmented and unhealthy.

Tree Pittsburgh’s Heritage Nursery seeks to revitalize local forests, and the important services they provide, by growing a diverse range of native and heritage trees for planting efforts. Our seeds are collected from “mother trees” that have proved both hardy in our local climates and resilient in modern conditions. Our nursery stock is curated with pride to withstand vegetative competition and thrive after planting, even in the toughest conditions.

Why Heritage Trees?

Heritage trees are trees of exceptional value that have endured our region’s harshest climate and environmental changes. These trees, which still thrive in old age, have resisted weather extremes, soil changes, and pollution over decades, making them ideal candidates for seed collection.

Who Buys Our Trees?

We partner with local environmental groups, contractors, designers and individuals to provide locally adapted trees for planting projects. For specialized restoration projects, plants can be grown from the same eco-region of the destination planting. We also partner with local nurseries and garden centers to provide native plants for retail sales. Contact us for help growing or selecting the perfect plant palette for your unique project: nursery@treepittsburgh.org.

Heritage Nursery and Tree Pittsburgh

The Heritage Nursery supports Tree Pittsburgh’s overall mission to create a healthy urban forest in the City of Pittsburgh by maintaining, planting and protecting trees, and is the only full-scale tree nursery of its kind in the Pittsburgh region, growing more than 80 tree species for local planting and ecosystem restoration efforts.

Our Site

Our nursery sits on a former brownfield in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Nestled along the Allegheny River, it operates with a minimal footprint, using solar technologies for power needs and river water for irrigation. To encourage beneficial insects, birds and flourishing soil biology, we utilize integrated pest management strategies and organic control methods to keep our plants healthy and vigorous.

Learn more about the Heritage Nursery story.

Meet the Team

megan_square

Megan Higgins Palomo, Nursery Director

Megan develops and manages all aspects of the Heritage Nursery, from leading operations to overseeing tree production and sales. From seed collection to the continued production of nursery stock, she works to ensure the highest quality product by using current industry best management practices. Prior to joining Tree Pittsburgh in November 2014, Megan served as the Business Development and Design Manager at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens where she led the organization’s sustainability consulting initiatives. Megan learned the nursery trade by working alongside her father for many years at their family-owned nursery business, Michael Brothers, in West Deer, Pa. She earned her B.S. in Landscape Architecture with a concentration in Horticulture from Cornell University in 2007, and is a LEED-accredited professional.

matt-s_square

Matt Stanko, Nursery Operations Manager

Matt joined Tree Pittsburgh in 2019. As Nursery Operations Manager, Matt is a part of all things Heritage Nursery. This means he is instrumental in transplanting, watering, and weeding plants as well as collecting and processing seeds.

Matt is an Air Force Veteran and an Eagle Scout. He had 10 years of residential tree care and removal experience before joining Tree Pittsburgh.

When he’s not caring for the trees, Matt is an avid backpacker, cyclist, and kayaker.

alliy_square

Alliy Gundlach, Nursery Seed Technician

Alliy joins the team as our Seed Technician in the Heritage Nursery. Alliy collects all of the tree and shrub seeds for our nursery program. She scouts new collection locations, collects seeds responsibly, and catalogs them appropriately. She also cleans and prepares seeds for stratification and planting in the spring.

Alliy’s background includes a conservation biology degree from the University of Central Florida. She has worked for the US Fish & Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy doing plant studies.

meg_square

Meg Harris, Nursery Horticulture Technician

Meg is our Horticulture Technician in the Heritage Nursery. Previously, Meg was an Environmental Educator at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. She has a degree in environmental science from Chatham University.

As our Horticulture Technician, Meg spends her days in the nursery caring for young trees and shrubs. This includes planting and up-potting seedlings, monitoring soil, integrated pest management, and general maintenance of our thousands of containerized trees.

cat_square

Cat B., Nursery Seed Program Assistant

Cat first started at Tree Pittsburgh as a weekly Wednesday volunteer in the Heritage Nursery. She was drawn to trees when she started taking more walks with her family, which led to learning tree ID and biology and phenology.

In her role as Seed Program Assistant, Cat works with Alliy to collect and process seeds, plant them, and help to build our seedbank.

Services

Pittsburgh-Grown Restoration Trees

Restoration Projects:  Planning a forest or riparian restoration project? The Heritage Nursery focuses on providing genetically diverse and locally adapted species for use in tree planting efforts of all sizes. We can partner with your organization to select the most appropriate plants for your unique location.

Individuals: Do you have dreams of creating a patch of forest on your property? Our nursery team can help you create a healthy and diverse woodland, or improve an existing wooded area to optimize wildlife habitat and ecosystem services. Visit us at one of our upcoming public market events.

Garden Centers: The demand for native species is stronger than ever, but locally adapted species are hard to find and take great resources to procure. Our Heritage Nursery can supply your garden center with affordable, healthy native species, grown specifically to thrive in this region. Talk to us about wholesale pricing for garden center specific programs.

Special Events: Trees symbolize growth, health, beauty and new beginnings, making them the perfect favor for your wedding or special event. Our boutique quality saplings make beautiful favors that will live on as reminders of your momentous event.

Custom Growing: Choosing region specific and site appropriate plants is important for the health and success of large scale restoration plantings. The Heritage Nursery works with organizations and clients to grow project-specific species from seed collected within their eco-region.

Our Process

Procurement: It all starts with locally collected seed. Along with our dedicated team of volunteers, we source from the hardiest trees in the region, planting seed and raising the resulting seedlings and saplings with care in our Lawrenceville-based nursery. Our educational and volunteer programming contributes to the preservation of some of the city’s oldest, most historic specimens, continuing the legacy of heritage trees, proven to be hardy and resilient in this region.

Quality and Care: Produced using the highest industry quality standards, the nursery is committed to expanding the species diversity of trees available in this region. Our well-trained staff and volunteers work throughout the year to ensure that each tree meets the highest quality standards.

Explore the full list of available stock: Please view our Availability page.

Planning for Challenges: Biodiversity is a key indicator of forest health. We have now become well aware of the consequences of a heavily skewed population with historic events such as the Dutch Elm Disease crisis and present pest threats such as Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle. Our nursery strives to address these issues by growing diverse and disease-resistant nursery stock, and planning for current and future threats to our forest health.