Our mission is to remember historical sites, people, and events by propagating living trees from seeds from the original trees. The AHT Nursery provides saplings of trees from important places throughout the U.S. We get these seeds from our partners, the centerpiece of American Heritage trees. We work closely with our partners to ensure the seeds we gather are authentic to the original tree. We then offer these saplings for purchase by individuals, schools, or organizations for their yard or garden. We collect seeds from other organizations that manage famous trees from around America. Here is a list of the trees that we grow:

  • Alex Haley
  • Alvin C. York
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Apollo Moon Tree
  • Birthing Tree
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • George Washington
  • Helen Keller
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Mark Twain
  • MSU Moon Tree
  • Robert E. Lee
  • Robert Frost
  • Space Gummy Tree
  • William Faulkner

We are in the process of adding more as well. Feel free to visit our website to learn more about these trees and more about what we do. http://www.americanheritagetrees.org

EDIT: Thank you so much for all of your questions. We had a great time doing this. If you would like to support us, visit our website to donate to our organization or purchase a tree! Have a great day!

Proof: http://imgur.com/8STSssd Further Proof: http://imgur.com/a/Sontd

Comments: 83 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

joeltb15 karma

Have you planted any American Chestnut trees? I heard they are going extinct.

AmericanHeritageTree10 karma

Along our driveway we have about 6 American Chestnut tree saplings. They are from the American Chestnut Foundation in Ashville, NC. These trees though are hybridized and are about 95% American Chestnut, and 5% Chinese Chestnut, and the idea is that these new breed of trees should be blight resistant. These trees are just for personal use and aren't part of American Heritage Trees. If you're interested in the American Chestnut Trees, definitely check out the American Chestnut Foundation.

IKingJeremy7 karma

What motivated you to start this project?

AmericanHeritageTree11 karma

Our start was with the need to find a creative way to memorialize the death of a relative. We stumbled on the opportunity to purchase a historic tree for each of our family members, and it was very effective.

10 years later we retired from our career jobs and decided that pursuing the growth of historical trees would be a worthwhile thing to do for us and to preserve American history.

ChodaPaste1 karma


AmericanHeritageTree1 karma

That sounds great! Lucky you!

e367 karma

We work closely with our partners to ensure the seeds we gather are authentic to the original tree.

Could you tell me more about how this process works?

AmericanHeritageTree6 karma

First we contact the historical site and establish a partnership agreement with them. We then either go to the site and collect the seeds ourselves, working with the staff to gather them, or the organization we've partnered with collects the seeds themselves and sends them to us.

Pbjdonut5 karma

What's your favorite tree and why? If you could live in a treehouse would you? What's the ugliest tree you know of?

AmericanHeritageTree3 karma

  • We don't really have a favorite tree, we got into this business because we love all trees. We think all trees are important and have their own beauty and have their special significance in the environment.
  • It sounds fun, but at 67 I don't think I would, haha!
  • The saddest tree in my opinion is one that hasn't been cared for.

flashbard5 karma

This is a wonderful initiative, great going! You have an awesome website too :)

The names for the trees are really cool. Just wondering, how do you choose which trees to grow, out of so many different varieties?

Also, do you talk to your plants, and if yes, any interesting observations?

Thanks a ton for your time!

AmericanHeritageTree9 karma

Thanks for the kind comments, we're actually in the process of updating the website right now.

Our philosophy right now is to try to stick with significant historic Americans and events. After we find a historical site that wants to partner with us, we choose trees that have a story and are relevant to that individual. Relevance as in writing about them, climbing them, growing up around them, etc. So, it's not really the variety we look for, but how much of a relevance the tree has to the individual or event.

We talk to our plants everyday and they just keep growing!

flashbard2 karma

Amazing stuff :) Really appreciate the philosophy! All the very best!

AmericanHeritageTree3 karma

Thank you for the fantastic questions!

I_Provide_The_Links4 karma

How do your trees get named? Also, what's your favorite story behind a tree?

Thanks for doing the AMA -- this is cool!

AmericanHeritageTree7 karma

They're named after the historic event or figure they are associated with. Most of the trees are located on the birth sites of key Americans, where they grew up around these trees. Many of the trees we grow are from 200 year old trees.

Every time we try to pick a favorite we end up arguing among ourselves. There are two that we really like. The first is the George Washington Buckeye, which was planted by George Washington himself in 1784. The other would be the Moon Trees, who's mother went to the moon as part of the Apollo 14 mission.

I_Provide_The_Links1 karma

Neat - thanks for the reply! :)

AmericanHeritageTree1 karma

Our pleasure. Thanks for the great question!

MattBaster3 karma

Any chance on securing seeds from Methuselah or Old Tjikko?

AmericanHeritageTree4 karma

The Methuselah tree, along with all the bristle-cone pine trees are amazing. However, the Bristlecone Pine Forest is a National Park, and is very protected. We would love to have an agreement with National Park Services, but until then we cannot take anything from any U.S. National park. These parks are public sites for all to enjoy.

Old Tjikko is truly magnificent, however our focus is on trees found in America.

sexrockandroll3 karma

Do you notice trends in the trees you plant that differ from the species in general? As in, do the child trees share traits with their parents that are noticeable?

AmericanHeritageTree4 karma

In general, no. Most traits from the trees are standard across all of it's species. What separates these trees from other trees is the importance of their heritage.

IKingJeremy2 karma

What has been the most difficult challenges to overcome in getting this organization off the ground?

AmericanHeritageTree2 karma

There have been so many challenges. Starting with setting up the infrastructure (Irrigation, greenhouses, site preparation). Establishing partnerships with historical sites to find a variety of trees that appeal to the public has also been challenging. Now we face the most challenging hurdle yet, which is just getting our name out there. Not many people know about us yet, as we've just started about two years ago.

BriSy332 karma

Do you like Huey lewis and the news?

AmericanHeritageTree2 karma

They're pretty cool!

ashes10322 karma

Do you have any ash trees? What about elms? I'm fascinated with trees that survive in the face of disease.

AmericanHeritageTree1 karma

We don't have either of those, but we do have some American Chestnuts in our driveway (which have been struck by a blight), but they aren't part of American Heritage trees. Trees that have survived blights and disease aren't really what we focus on, and we can't recall anything in our inventory falling into that category.

We are however adding new trees all the time, and we are working on adding an American Elm. It's known as the Survivor Tree from the Oklahoma City Bombing cite, but we aren't sure when it will be added.

uiz0871 karma

Since you are in TN ave you guys considered an Andrew Jackson, James K Polk, or Andrew Johnson trees... heck a Dolly Parton tree would be neat! Have you guys partnered with MTSU? Their walnut grove is from the seed stock of Mt. Vernon.would be great if they had a few more historical trees.

AmericanHeritageTree1 karma

We have discussed obtaining trees from Andrew Jackson's home, The Hermitage. The grounds keeper/horticulturalist has selected a few that have special significance to Andrew Jackson. However, at this time we do not have trees to offer the public....hopefully soon!! We also plan to offer several trees with Tennessee heritage. We are still working on those partnerships at this time. We have a partnership with MTSU...in fact, we have two interns that have been working with us over the summer. That's been a great, very valuable resource!

seanofthebread1 karma

Have you encountered Father Desmet's Apple tree? It's in Stevensville, MT. Here's the link. Tree is in the bottom right picture of the gallery.

AmericanHeritageTree2 karma

Unfortunately, I have not encountered Father Desmet's apple tree before your comment. What a wonderful tree! We are trying to get seeds from the Johnny Appleseed last tree, but haven't succeeded to date. We will have to check out Father Desmet's tree. Thanks for sharing!

seanofthebread1 karma

No problem! You guys have a great project! Let me know if I can help.

AmericanHeritageTree1 karma


Reform1slam1 karma

I don't know all the trees. Are there any fruit trees or novelty trees you sell that people can use? I remember a neighbor used to have a giant lemon tree which was a novelty and I used to steal giant lemons to show off at school for science projects. That was a great tree.Wish I could grow one of those someday.

AmericanHeritageTree1 karma

Currently, we don't have fruit trees in our collection of historic trees. However, we have one lemon tree that we have had for 45 years that is absolutely fantastic. Great lemons!


What is your favorite thing about these trees?

AmericanHeritageTree1 karma

I think our favorite thing is spreading awareness and knowledge about the individuals our trees are tied to. While we are helping the environment, we are also educating others about famous heroes, poets, presidents, etc, that played a key role in shaping America's history.

SmaMan7881 karma

Let me start by saying I think this is a great idea and preserving tree species, like animals, is a must and should be taken seriously.

So, have you ever hugged one of your trees?

AmericanHeritageTree1 karma

Every day!

SkateWest1 karma

What a cool project. Thanks for this AMA. Are there certain trees you really wish to someday offer?

AmericanHeritageTree1 karma

We're adding new trees all the time. There's a list we just made of around 30 new trees we're interested in adding. We're interested in any nominations you guys might have!

MySafeFerWerkAccount1 karma

What size, generally speaking, are the saplings when sold, and do you offer local pickup as an option?

AmericanHeritageTree2 karma

Usually the saplings are 3-4 ft. We do have larger versions available, but these are harder to ship, so they are only available for pickup.

Yes, local pickup is available for all trees!

MySafeFerWerkAccount1 karma

Awesome! May be driving through Nashville in late July, if so I will definitely have to detour and stop by to bring one back to South Louisiana with me.

AmericanHeritageTree1 karma

Please do!

Capitolphotoguy1 karma

Cool project. In Austin, The Labybird Johnson Wildflower Center offers clones and/or seedlings from the Treaty Oak) every year. Are you able to offer clones of any of your historic trees? EDIT: Sorry, my link is wonky cause of the parenthesis.

AmericanHeritageTree2 karma

No clones at this time, but we do plan to.

GeeBrain1 karma

This is a very unique nonprofit! Wow, definitely a first for me; I think it is wonderful what you are doing :) Question: how you sustaining yourself? Funding wise I mean, do you have any corporate sponsors or the like? I want to support them for supporting you!

AmericanHeritageTree2 karma

Thank you for your support, we need more people like you in this world! We are in the process of searching for grant money. However, we are essentially self-funded, but we would like the organization to get to the point to sustain itself.

lordponte1 karma

What's the authentication process for the trees?

AmericanHeritageTree2 karma

The trees are grown in partnership with the site owner. For instance the site with our George Washing trees is Mount Vernon. First we agree on a tree of significance for that site and that historic person. Then, as part of our partnership, the site itself harvests the seeds and provides them to us.

The chain of custody for the seeds is very important, and both sides of the partnership are insistent that the seeds are verified to be true and authentic. We are very diligent to make sure all our seeds and saplings are labeled and segregated throughout the entire growing process.

Sutt_j1 karma

Are you able to make this organization your full time job and live off it?

AmericanHeritageTree2 karma

Your question brings a big smile! The short answer is "no". We are actually funding the setup of American Heritage Trees and continue to fund operational expenses at this time. Our hope is that it will become self-sufficient in the near future. Being a nonprofit organization, we do no intend to take any funds from sales of American Heritage Trees for our personal income.

ButtsexEurope1 karma

How are you doing with American elms?

AmericanHeritageTree1 karma

We currently do not have any American elm trees in our inventory.

rubberpaint1 karma

Hi - Is there a reason you use seeds instead of cuttings?

AmericanHeritageTree2 karma

Seeds are just more convenient for us at this time and much easier for our Partners to collect that taking cuttings.