Rochester Hills offers free trees

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published March 6, 2018

ROCHESTER HILLS — A city program offers no-cost street trees to residents. City contractors plant, maintain and guarantee the trees for one year.  

“This is a free program available to residents who would like a free tree planted in their roadway,” Rochester Hills Parks Director Ken Elwert said.

The program offers free city street trees to property owners who have open planting sites that meet ordinance requirements on the public right-of-way adjacent to their property.

All trees have a 2-inch caliper stem diameter and are approximately 8 to 10 feet tall. A list of available tree varieties is found on the city’s website, along with photos and descriptions.

Some tree varieties may not be suitable for all locations. City Forestry Department staff work with property owners to determine a specific location.

Trees are available in the spring and fall. Spring planting occurs in late April and early May. Fall planting is done in November. Planting the right trees in the right locations along city streets provides environmental benefits and improves the livability of the city, said city officials.

“Last year we planted 440 trees,” Elwert said.

Quantities of some varieties are limited, so interested homeowners should order early. The deadline for ordering spring trees is the first Friday in March, which has already passed. The deadline for ordering fall trees is the first Friday in September.

The city’s tree planting program was initiated in 2015, when the city’s tree fund was authorized to plant trees along public streets and on public properties throughout the city.

Tree fund revenues are generated from payments by developers and builders in lieu of planting replacements for regulated trees that were removed or damaged during construction.

“The tree fund is something that developers put (money) into as they are working in our community.” Elwert said.     

By a unanimous vote Feb. 26, the Rochester Hills City Council approved a purchase order to Sherman Nursery Farms for $190,000.

“My buckeye tree that I got a couple of years ago is flourishing,” Councilman James Kubicina said.

Visit the city website at to order free trees. For more information, call the city Parks and Natural Resources Office at (248) 656-4673.