Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is offering Philadelphia residents the chance to sign up for FREE yard trees for their private property (front, back, and side yards).
Once you sign up for your yard tree you can pick it up at one of many giveaway events that will happen in spring and fall. And when you pick up your tree we will do a tree planting and care demonstration so you can take your tree home and plant it with confidence!
Free Delivery and Planting for People with Limited Mobility:
If you have limited mobility and cannot pick up and plant your tree, we are offering a free delivery and planting service. There are a limited number of slots available for this service, dependent upon funding, so you are not guaranteed a spot if you apply. Applicants who receive the free delivery and planting service who are subsequently found to be fraudulent will be billed $65 for each tree that was delivered and planted. In addition, you are responsible for all care of the tree after it has been planted. This includes watering the tree 20 gallons every week from April through November of the first two years after planting, mulching the tree twice a year throughout its lifetime, pruning the tree when appropriate, and removal of the tree if needed. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this program.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How big will my tree be when I get it at the giveaway event?
At the time you receive your tree, it will be between 4 and 6 feet tall in a 2 to 5 gallon container. This will vary by tree type, please see the individual tree profiles for more information.
Why don’t you offer trees that are larger when planted?
We try to strike a balance between a tree that is large enough to make an immediate impact and “look like a tree” when you plant it, and a tree that is small enough that you can get it home in a variety of ways (car, bus, bike, walking) and plant it yourself.
Where do I go to get my tree?
When you pre-register for the Yard Tree Program you can choose your pick up date and location. Once an event fills up you can no longer register for it, so register early!
How will I get my tree home?
The trees we provide will be small enough that you can easily fit them into a compact car, bungee them onto a bike rack, or carry them home on the bus or train. They will weigh between 15 and 25 pounds each, depending on the type. We will not provide bungee cords or plastic bags to cover your tree, so please bring whatever supplies you need to secure your tree for the trip home.
What kind of trees will be available?
The kind of trees we have available to give away depend upon availability at the nursery and will vary by season. We provide mostly native species, and hope to offer cultivated fruit trees in the future. CLICK HERE to read more information on each of the tree species we have available this season. Experts will be at the giveaway event to help you choose what tree makes the most sense for your yard; feel free to bring photos and dimensions of your space to help them assist you in your choice. Trees will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at each event, you will not be able to choose your trees ahead of time.
Why don’t you give away evergreen trees, or shrubs and flowers?
The purpose of the Yard Tree Program is to contribute to the tree canopy in the city; the layer of branches and leaves that capture falling rain, reduce flooding, clean our air, and shade our streets and homes. While evergreen trees, and shrubs and flowers are important, they do not provide a large amount of tree canopy and the services that canopy provides, so we do not have funding to provide them.
Where should I plant my new tree?
Your tree must be planted in the ground on your property within 15 days of pickup; it will die if it is kept too long in the container. These trees can NOT be planted in the sidewalk in front of your property, but please see the Street Tree page of this website for information about getting a tree for your sidewalk/street. Check out this helpful video from the Texas A&M Forest Service for advice on where to plant your tree in your yard to maximize energy savings.
How do I plant my tree?
We will do a tree planting and care demonstration at the pickup event and you will go home with diagrams and instructions for proper planting and care of your new tree. Free mulch will be available at some events. You can see a planting demonstration video from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society here.
Here’s what people are saying about their experience with the TreePhilly Yard Tree Program:
“I think that this is a wonderful program. I am thankful that Mayor Nutter sponsored/created this great event which shows that he is forward thinking and devoted to the environment and to neighborhoods”
“This program is awesome and I hope to participate again. Really, this is great to preserving our green areas and to improve the quality of healthy living in the city. Thank you.”
“This was a great experience and wonderful gift. Thank you for the tree and educating us. Keep up the good work.”
“We love our tree! Thank you for making the process of obtaining and caring for our tree so easy!”