Many Americans will soon see a check in their mailboxes. For too many Americans, that check will only help to make ends meet. But the check has another purpose too. Since it is unlikely that many Americans will just buy gold coins, it is likely that most of the money will enter the marketplace, providing a Black-Friday-like lift for the budgets of businesses everywhere.

With this spending spree in mind, and with the growing season right around the corner, here are some ideas for a green stimulus.

Joshua Arp

In the case of real estate, mature trees alone can raise the sale price of a house or how long it stays on the market. One study found that a single tree in front of a house raised its value by more than $7,000. And that same tree raised the price for neighbors within 100 feet as well. It’s no wonder then, that multiple studies show that landscape investments have at least a 100% return. (Compare that with 70-80% return on kitchen or bathroom remodels, or additions.) With this in mind, look at the ideas below, and see if you can do some green spending that will keep on paying you back.

Take less than $100 with you and buy quality pruning hand tools. (From my experience, do not buy tools with the same name as a scissors manufacturer, the name of this virus — or beer — or that socket set you bought for Father’s Day. Buy the brand you know from a popular orange chain saw, or go online and buy from the company who makes it for the chainsaw company: ARS.) Buy the small pocket saw. And buy hand pruners. It’s hard to make quality cuts with loppers, so don’t buy those except to cut up branches already on the ground.

For less than $200, you can buy a long-lasting, dependable, lightweight chainsaw. Add a few more dollars, and you will have a rechargeable saw with no gas to worry about. For the size of the individual stimulus check, you could have the Kombi system, including the best string trimmer on the market, and multiple attachments, such as blower, tiller, hedge trimmers and more.

Or invest in plants.

Buy and apply more organic fertilizer for everything that grows in your soil. Hire a professional to remove, replace or renovate your overgrown shrubs. Spend the whole check on fruit trees. You could get a dozen B&B trees. Or a small orchard of 4-5’ bare root trees. (Plant high-density like at Roba’s Orchard.)

Contact your shade tree commission and offer to do your part to plant a tree-lined street. If you can defeat the deer, design, build and plant a vegetable garden.

Or buy a chicken coop and get some food security.

Remember: There are some things, green and otherwise, that money can’t buy. Get those first.

Joshua Arp is an ISA-certified municipal specialist, Clarks Summit’s municipal arborist and an operator of an organic lawn and landscape maintenance business. Reach him at