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Tallahassee to offer free trees to eligible homeowners with 'Adopt a Tree' program

JNF tree planting.png
Posted at 5:44 PM, Nov 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 17:44:01-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The City of Tallahassee is offering free trees to eligible homeowners within the city limits as part of the "Adopt A Tree" program.

The "Adopt A Tree" program provides and helps plant native and naturalized trees to increase the community’s urban forest canopy.

Homeowners may request up to two trees be planted in the front yard within 100 feet of the centerline of the roadway (within the city limits) and must agree to keep each tree watered for one year.

City staff will assist the homeowner with tree placement and take care of the installation.

The trees, depending on the species, are between 5 and 8 feet in height and are species native (or cultivars of native species) to the southeast. Trees available this year include:

  • Black Gum – This is a slow-growing, deciduous tree that can be found in varying locations – low wet woods, bottomlands and ponds but also dry, rocky, wooded areas and ravines. It has several other common names, including Tupelo, Black Tupelo and Sour Gum. It has an average-growing canopy tree that can reach between 30-50 feet tall but can get to 90 feet. During the spring, small, greenish-white flowers appear, which are an excellent resource for bees. This is a wonderful shade tree for lawns and grows well in moist areas or low spots that tend to collect water. During the fall, foliage turns purple and eventually becomes an intense, bright scarlet red. This is a favorite of deer and is an important food source for migrating birds.
  • American Sycamore – This is a showy tree with patterned white-grey bark that tends to flake off. It can grow to an enormous diameter, especially in its native habitat: one tree measured by George Washington was 13 feet in diameter! It can reach heights of 75-90 feet and grows quickly. It tends to tolerate wet and compacted soils but does well in drier areas, too. During late spring, red clusters of flowers appear. The fruit balls show up in the fall and remain through winter. This is a tree that will need plenty of space for growth and attention to branches that may need corrective pruning.
  • Winged Elm – This is this year’s smallest growing tree with a top height average of 40-50 feet, though it has been found to reach upward of 90 feet in certain habitats. It is a fast-growing, deciduous tree, quickly identified by the corky, wing-like projections that appear on the opposite sides of twigs and branches. This tree can be found growing in wet sites as well as dry and prefers full to partial sun. During autumn, the leaves turn bright yellow, and in late winter, small red flowers mature in clusters. This is one of the most adaptable trees!

Tree planting will begin mid-January. Trees are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Adopt A Tree, which plants around 300 trees each year, is one of the programs that helps ensure the health of Tallahassee’s tree canopy.

At 55 percent, the City boasts one of the highest percentages of tree coverage in the nation.

To apply for the program, click here.