Free Tree Giveaways

Right tree, Right place

Congratulations, you decided to plant a new tree! Depending on the species, trees can live for a few decades and up to a few centuries.

Take a moment to carefully select the tree(s) species that make sense for your unique space and needs. Before planting, go outside and look at your yard. Consider any overhead power lines, low areas where rainwater collects, nearby pedestrian right of ways, etc that might affect your choice. Plan for the expected height and spread, lifespan, and sunlight and soil requirements. Many of these species will live for a few decades and up to a couple of centuries, so choose wisely. Check out this Arbor Day guide for more assistance.

The following species are available for the fall 2022 giveaway season. For details information on each tree, check out our tree species selection blog.


How To Plant Your New Free Tree

Below is a brief overview of basic planting tips. For more detailed advice as well as photos showing exactly how and where to plant, check out our How To Plant Your New Free Tree blog.

To learn how to properly stake and protect your tree, check out this video.

Pre-planting checklist:

  1. Find the right location for your tree. Know your species. Go outside and take a look at your space. Think about its expected height, spread and lifespan. Consider the soil and sunlight conditions. Make note of overhead power lines, low areas where rainwater collects, nearby pedestrian right of ways, etc. that might impact its health in order to make an educated decision.
  2. Get approval from your utility company and the landowner. Before digging, call 811 or make an online request to prevent damage.

Now you’re ready to dig!

  • Dig a hole 2-3 times as wide as your root ball (the soil and roots in the pot). A wide hole encourages outward root growth.
  • Dig hole no deeper than height of tree’s root ball. The top of root ball should be level with or slightly above the ground. Better 1” too high than 1” too low! Do not bury the “root flare” where the trunk widens at the base. You want the topmost ‘structural’ or large root that comes off the trunk to be just covered with soil. Remember to pack in the soil at the bottom of your hole so it is flat and your tree won’t sink deeper.
  • Remove the tree from the container. Gently pull and loosen any roots you can see to stop them from circling. If not, the roots will continue to grow in a circle. This step is key, so don’t skip it!
  • Place tree upright and centered in prepared hole. Double check the depth.
  • Back fill your hole with original soil, breaking up clumps and tamping soil down with your foot. Do not compress the root ball- only the surrounding soil.
  • Place grass clumps up-side-down in a circle or berm around the edge of the hole to decompose and discourage regrowth. Grass competes with young trees for water.
  • Spread a layer of mulch or wood chips 2-4” high in a circle around the tree, but do not cover the trunk. Keep mulch at least 3 inches away from the trunk of the tree. (Think mulch donut, not volcano!)
  • If you choose to stake your tree, insert stake roughly 1’ from the root ball on either side. Tie the tree to the stakes, preferably in the top 1/3 of the trunk above a branch connection. Do not tie tightly- leave ample space for trunk growth and allow tree to blow slightly in the wind.
  • Protect your tree! Add a plastic mesh mower guard or deer fencing if needed to protect the trunk from damage by lawn mowers or deer.
  • Water the tree in after you plant to settle soil and minimize large air pockets. Wet the mulch and focus on the area around base of the trunk. Slow drip watering is best.
  • Water 15-20 gallons/week from May-Oct for the first 2-3 years.
  • Continue to monitor health of the tree. Re-mulch each season. Ties/stakes should be removed after one year. Trees may need corrective pruning after 3 years in the ground.

Questions about tree care? Email Sean O’Maille [email protected]