Rochester Hills offers 200 free trees to residents

New partnership allows free trees to be planted on private property for the first time

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published September 22, 2020

  A family plants a free tree as part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Canopy program.

A family plants a free tree as part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Canopy program.

Photo provided by the Arbor Day Foundation

 All of the trees are approximately 1-4 feet tall and will be mailed to the resident directly.

All of the trees are approximately 1-4 feet tall and will be mailed to the resident directly.

Photo provided by the Arbor Day Foundation

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ROCHESTER HILLS — For the first time, the city of Rochester Hills is providing 200 free trees to residents to plant on their private property this fall as part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Canopy program.  

The program — funded through the city’s tree fund — helps clean the air and water, reduce storm water runoff, sequester carbon and lower energy usage through strategic tree planting, according to city officials.

“This is the first year the city is doing this, and we are the first community in Michigan to be participating in this program with the Arbor Day Foundation,” said Matt Einheuser, the city’s natural resources manager.

As of Sept. 10, until supplies run out, residents can reserve up to two free trees at www.arborday.org/rochesterhills to plant on their private property.

The types of trees offered include: redbud, serviceberry, white oak, swamp white oak and white pine.

When reserving trees, residents are encouraged to use the online mapping tool that takes the guesswork out of where to plant the tree on a specific property to help maximize air, water, energy and carbon benefits. City officials said carefully positioned trees can reduce a household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling by up to 25%.

All trees are approximately 1-4 feet tall and will be mailed to the resident directly. Residents are then expected to care for and plant the trees in the location chosen through the online tool.

“We hope to continue this in future years and plan on budgeting for it,” Einheuser said.

Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said having a strong green infrastructure starts with a strong tree canopy.

“We are proud to participate in this initiative and would encourage homeowners to consider taking advantage of this new opportunity,” Barnett said in a statement.

The 200 trees provided through the community canopy program are in addition to those offered by the city’s annual street tree program — which provides up to 250 free trees in the spring and fall for planting within the public right of way. The deadline for ordering spring trees via the street tree program is typically the first Friday in March, while the fall street tree deadline is the first Friday in September.

Rochester Hills has been recognized as a Tree City USA Community for 30 years. Since 1985, when the city’s forestry program began, Rochester Hills has planted more than 10,000 trees along city roads, in city parks and at other city properties.

For more information about the community tree planting programs, call the city’s parks and natural resources office at (248) 656-4673.

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