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Free tree program
Trees have always been an important part of Montgomery County. Yet, many of our urban areas lack sufficient tree canopy cover. Urban tree canopy provides environmental and community benefits by improving water quality, reducing air pollution, decreasing energy demands and providing a shady, attractive, quality place.To increase the urban tree canopy, the Planning Department has launched Shades of Green, a pilot program that provides free trees and two years of tree care to qualifying property owners in:
Sign up for your free tree and two-year maintenance agreement.
Download our Tree Care and Maintenance Manual.
In 2011, as part of an effort to understand existing tree cover across the county, urban planners analyzed Montgomery County’s tree canopy cover — the layer of leaves, branches, and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. The project used high-resolution aerial imagery to gather data on tree cover throughout the county. The study revealed significantly lower tree canopy cover in urban areas than most surrounding suburbs.
By partnering with property owners to plant trees on their land, planners will beautify urban districts, reduce street temperatures, and support the local economy.
Shades of Green is financed through the Forest Conservation Fund, made up of contributions paid during the development process as compensation for tree loss and when tree-planting on site is impractical. In 2009, the Maryland State Department of Natural Resources amended the restrictions that governed the use of such funds. Rather than being restricted to use for forest only, the fund could now be used to meet urban tree canopy goals, creating potential for developer funds to improve the quality of life in urban areas.
For urban dwellers and visitors, trees offer a respite from summer heat and protection from the elements year-round. They contribute to a pleasing atmosphere that encourages people to walk, cycle, shop and gather.
Research has shown that trees planted in downtown retail areas draw more patrons. Read "Research on City Trees and Retail." (403 KB)
Click on a map to enlarge
Tina Schneider, MLA
Area 1 Planner
Last updated: May 16, 2013