Raleigh's NeighborWoods program offers residents free trees
Posted June 23
Raleigh, N.C. — 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."