The Parks Department charges $1,900 to plant one 8-inch sapling, and usually takes months to do so; builders who testified before the Council said they pay anywhere between $300 and $500 to purchase the same tree.
A quick Google search turned me on to Musser Forests, a tree farm in Pennsylvania, that sells 3-year red oak seedlings (3- to 5-feet tall) for $6.59 each (minimum purchase: 5). Add in shipping, and it’s still only $15.09 per tree. Want your trees shipped in two days? Only $31.59 per tree.
Granted, a 3- to 5-foot sapling is a bit smaller than what is usually used as a replacement tree (about half the size), but oak trees grow about two feet per year. Is two years of tree-growth worth saving nearly $500 — or, as it is with the Parks Department, $1,900?