SEATTLE — The City of Seattle is often referred to as the Emerald City. The famously green surroundings have been a focus of a unique program that has planted more than 11,000 trees in the last decade.
Trees For Seattle is offering 1,000 trees for Seattle residents to plant in their yards. There is no cost involved and the participants also receive free watering bags, mulch and training in the proper planting and ongoing tree care support for five years.
Ali Lakehart is the program lead and said arborists hand selected 11 types of trees that are suitable for a variety of locations and needs. From smaller trees that won’t hinder power lines to larger trees that can grow to provide shade in the yard.
“We have trees planted in yards, places of worship, businesses and schools to help grow the urban forest,” Lakehart said.
She also pointed out that around 70% of trees in Seattle are growing on private land. “We are the caregivers for the majority of the forest right here in Seattle,” she said.
The program has evolved during the pandemic and rather than a mass distribution event, the trees will all be delivered to residences in October.
“We want to plant trees when the wet season arrives and fortunately this year we are delivering all the trees right to residences so we’ve removed that barrier,” said Lakehart.
Trees For Seattle even has planting assistance for anyone with accessibility issues.
Rainier Beach resident Penelope Donado has planted several trees in her yard via the program and said she very much hopes to participate again this year.
“Especially with the way climate change is effecting everyone in the world now… It’s our civil duty to plant as many trees as we can,” said Donado.
The deadline for the online application is Aug. 9 and people can find the application with tree options online at www.seattle.gov/trees.
Due to increasing popularity in the program the recipients will be chosen via lottery format. For more information and to watch a free online workshop this weekend you can visit www.seattle.gov/tree and look for "Right Tree."