Los Angeles city officials are offering to plant free trees for residents and business owners as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Green New Deal goal to plant 90,000 trees by 2021. The trees can be planted in the parkway, the space between the sidewalk and the curb.
City Plants, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of trees in LA has partnered with the mayor’s office, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), LA Sanitation & Environment (LASAN) and StreetsLA to offer the free street trees program.
Signing up for a free tree is done online. After receiving an online application, City Plants will visit the site to determine if there are appropriate tree planting spaces, and what type of tree is best. Once planted, residents and business owners are asked to water their new tree for three years to allow its roots to grow deeper into the ground and become established. It costs less than $10 a year to water a newly planted tree in LA.
The benefits to planting and having trees, officials say, include cleaning the air we breathe, cooling streets and homes, fighting climate change, reducing energy costs and beautifying neighborhoods. Studies have shown that increasing the number of trees in a neighborhood reduces the rate of asthma and improves mental health. In addition, the US Forest Service has found that access to trees decreases stress and anxiety.
Trees can also help save on energy bills. The Forest Service estimates that trees can reduce air conditioning costs by 30%. In fact, the net cooling effect of a healthy tree planted can be equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating on a hot day.
During the COVID-19 crisis, all tree planting crews are following physical distancing guidelines with residents and business owners throughout this process to ensure the health and safety of every Angeleno.
Please visit coronavirus.lacity.org for a list of resources on how to stay informed, safe and healthy during this time.
For more information about the City of LA’s free tree program and to sign up for free street trees, visit https://www.cityplants.org/street-trees, and submit an application online.