Community Canopy program returns to city of Sarasota

Registration for free trees to start April 23

Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The Community Canopy program, which gives away trees to help expand the urban canopy and reduce energy bills, will begin again in the City of Sarasota on Monday, April 23, the city has announced.

In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, the city will provide 235 trees to residents at no cost, a news release says.

Starting April 23 at midnight, city residents may reserve free trees at; the limit is one tree per household, the release points out. The tree will be delivered to the house in a 1-gallon container, the release notes.

On the website, residents may use a calculator tool to estimate the annual energy savings from planting a tree in the most strategic location on their property, the release explains. Participants are expected to care for the tree and plant it in the location specified by the online tool, the release points out.

Five species of trees will be offered: chickasaw plum, crape myrtle, red maple, Shumard oak and sweetbay magnolia.

All the species are native, locally sourced trees.

“This is a popular program and the trees are claimed quickly,” said Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes in the release. “So, we encourage residents who are interested to reserve their tree online as soon as possible starting April 23.”

In addition, 35 trees will be given away during two community events on Friday, April 20:

  • Earth Day: An event will be hosted by the City and County of Sarasota at Selby Five Points Park, located at 1 Central Ave., from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Newtown Farmers Market: Economic Development Office, located at 1782 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, from noon to 5 p.m.

The trees at the Newtown Farmers Market and Earth Day celebration will be of the same species as those in the Community Canopy program, the release adds, but they will be in 5-gallon containers.

This will be the third Community Canopy tree giveaway for the city, the release points out. Including this round, the release says, more than 600 trees will have been given away to bolster the urban canopy and help with climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.

The program is funded by the city’s tree replacement fund, which collects a portion of tree removal permit dollars to be used for urban canopy protection programs, the release explains. A grant from the Florida Forest Service enabled the city to double the number of trees to be given away this time, the release adds.