Local News

Raleigh's NeighborWoods program offers residents free trees

Posted June 23, 2014

— On a hot summer day, a nice shady spot can make all the difference to stay cool, but not all neighborhoods in Raleigh have trees to offer that shade. The city's NeighborWoods Tree Planting Program is hoping to change that.

The program, which started in 2003 and is funded through donations, gives free trees to residents who meet three requirements. They must:

  • Live within city limits
  • Plant the trees within the city’s “rights of way,” or near the street
  • Pledge to plant, water and mulch the trees for at least two years

“The trees themselves make a huge difference in the community – the aesthetic benefits you get, carbon sequestration, wildlife homes, shade (and) they increase property value,” said Zach Manor, the city’s urban forester.

The program offers trees in areas where new development may have cleared them out or where older trees are dying. Manor says crews assess yards to see if there is a space that would benefit. If so, they leave a notice for the home owner, who is allowed to pick what kinds of trees they want from a pre-approved list.

Manor says he expects to deliver about 6,000 notices this year. Of those, he estimates 30 to 40 percent of people will accept. Next year, he plans to focus on maintaining the trees that have already been planted and deliver trees by request.

"I’d say we’ve given away 15,000 trees that we have out there since our program started in 2003," he said. "Trees do a lot for you. Sometimes it's not something you can see or not as tangible, but the difference between a neighborhood with trees and one without is a pretty stark difference."


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  • iopsyc Jun 24, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I would think it has to do with legal intricacies around placing trees on city rights of way versus individual private property.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jun 23, 2014

    View quoted thread


    There are few "boring cookie cutter neighborhoods" right within Raleigh "city limits", most are established neighborhoods, well established ones.

  • Billy the Kid Jun 23, 2014

    That's what happens when you clear cut for boring cookie cutter neighborhoods.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jun 23, 2014

    But I find this requirement strange...
    "Plant the trees within the city’s 'rights of way,' or near the street"

    Since it would often place trees below utility lines which means they'll occasionally be indiscriminately butchered by tree crews clearing vegetation from the lines.

    What kind of sense does that make???

  • dwntwnboy2 Jun 23, 2014

    This is a wonderful program. My neighborhood did this a few years ago and planted fruit trees. We get quite the harvest each summer!