Spring tree planting program returns to Royal Oak

By: Taylor Christensen | Royal Oak Review | Published February 8, 2024

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ROYAL OAK — The city’s tree planting program is back for the spring season, and the registry for a tree to be planted on your property is open.

People of the Royal Oak community have the opportunity to request a tree to be planted on their property. Trees will be given on a first-come, first-served basis and are free of cost.

The registry to order a tree is currently open, and the options were running out quickly last week.

Options available as of Jan. 30 are Armstrong Maple, Green Mountain Sugar Maple, Exclamation London Plane, Bur Oak, Red Oak, Accolade Elm, Green Vase Zelkova, Swamp White Oak and Greenspire Linden.

Autumn Blaze Maple and Tulip Tree were already sold out as of Jan. 30.

The trees will be planted in the “grassy area in front of your home between the sidewalk and street,” according to a press release.

To prepare, Director of Public Services and Recreation Aaron Filipski proposed the expenditure of $116,700 for the spring program at the Jan. 22 City Commission meeting and outlined the vendor and the cost of the trees.

The commissioners unanimously approved the plan, and the department is moving forward with Marine City Nursery as the tree vendor for the 2024 tree planting program.

“The parks and forestry division arborists and supervisor reviewed the submissions and recommended accepting the proposal from (Marine) City Nursery,” according to the proposal document.

Marine City Nursery bid a cost of $389 per tree, which was the third-lowest amount of the six vendors who bid for the program. The proposal document stated that the Public Service Department has had previous success with this vendor.

The goal is to have 800 trees planted, according to Filipski. The 300 trees being planted in the spring paired with the 500 planted in the fall will achieve this goal.

Most of the planting occurs in the fall, because of the busy spring season for upkeep of the outdoor spaces in Royal Oak, according to Filipski.

City Commissioner Brandon Kolo participated in the tree program in the spring of last year.

“I live on a block that doesn’t have a lot of trees, so I was thrilled when I saw myself and two other neighbors take advantage,” he said. “We made sure to look after it, and it’s been great to see where the future is going to go with this.”

Kolo said the trees provide many different qualities other than just looking beautiful.

“We know that trees provide an intrinsic value to the neighborhood,” he said. “They help reduce the cost of heating and cooling in your house by providing natural shade, and they help drain rain from flooding events.”

“They are good for the ecosystem and they’re good for the community,” he said.

According to Kolo, the program has great demand every year.

“People want these trees, so we are happy to provide them as often and however we can,” he said.

Anybody who wants a tree can request one, and Kolo said that the city also encourages individuals in areas with low canopy coverage to participate in the program.

People who request a tree are responsible for the well-being of that tree and must water and take care of the tree for the first year.

Kolo said that directions for care come with all trees ordered.

“It’s not like caring for a baby puppy; it’s pretty easy to let it grow.”

If problems do arise, or the tree does not grow properly, Marine City Nursery will replace the tree. To replace a tree, a resident needs to reach out to someone in the Department of Public Services.

Descriptions of the trees and the registry are at romi.gov. For any questions, call (248) 246-3300.