Community Canopy program underway again in City of Sarasota, with trees offered for free to the public

Three species available through online registration system

Dahoon holly trees are among those available. Image courtesy UF/IFAS Extension in Sarasota County

The City of Sarasota Community Canopy program, which gives away trees to help expand the urban canopy and reduce energy bills, is underway again as of April 15.

In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and the Florida Forest Service, a news release says, the city will provide 250 trees to residents at no cost.

City residents may reserve their free trees at Two trees per household are available during this giveaway, a news release explains.

On the website, a resident can use a calculator tool to estimate the annual energy savings from planting a tree in the most strategic location on the person’s 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 stresses.

Three species of trees are being offered:dahoon holly, live oak andred maple, the release says.

“All the species are native trees, sourced from within Florida,” the release notes. The trees will be delivered to residents’ homes in 1-gallon containers.

“As the trees grow, so do the benefits to the community, with less carbon and cleaner air and water,” said Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes in the release. “Since 2017, 559 trees have been planted in Sarasota through the Community Canopy program. Those trees, once mature, will have filtered approximately 25.7 million gallons of stormwater, absorbed 9,000 pounds of air pollutants and captured 3.3 million pounds of carbon,” she added in the release. “This is a real impact, creating a healthier environment and more livable Sarasota.”

A document produced by the City of Sarasota shows the benefits of the Community Canopy program. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

This is the fifth Community Canopy tree giveaway for the city, the release points out. “Including this cycle, 809 trees will have been given away and planted to bolster the urban canopy and help with climate mitigation and adaptation efforts,” the release adds.

The city pays for the program through its tree replacement fund, which collects a portion of tree removal permit dollars for use in urban canopy protection program, the release notes. “With assistance from a matching grant from the Florida Forest Service,” the release adds, the city is able to give away twice as many trees this time as in previous giveaways.