Community Canopy program underway once again in City of Sarasota

Residents may register for free trees

These are leaves of a red maple tree, which were just coming out in early March. Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

The City of Sarasota’s free tree giveaway program, Community Canopy, began again on Oct. 4, with contactless registration and delivery, “allowing residents in the city limits to safely receive a free tree during the coronavirus pandemic while helping to expand the urban canopy and reducing energy bills,” the city announced.

In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, the city had 250 trees to offer residents at no cost. Close to midday on Oct. 7, Jan Thornburg, senior communications manager for the city, told The Sarasota News Leader that 130 trees were still available.

City residents can reserve their free trees at, a news release noted. 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 his or her property, the release explains. Participants in the program are expected to plant the trees in the locations specified by the online tool, and then they are expected to care for the trees, the release adds.

Four species of native trees sourced from Florida are being offered: red maple, bald cypress, live oak, and sweet bay magnolia.

“One tree per household can be reserved during the giveaway,” the release points out. Each tree will be delivered to City of Sarasota residents in a 1-gallon container.

“Not only do trees help clean our air and water and reduce the effects of climate change, but they’ve also been proven to help reduce stress and improve mental health,” said Sustainability Program Educator Jeff Vredenburg in the release. “Now more than ever, we’re thrilled to again be partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation to make Sarasota greener, healthier and more beautiful,” he added in the release.

Since 2017, more than 1,100 trees have been planted through the Community Canopy program, “boosting the urban canopy, cleaning air and removing pollutants, filtering stormwater and helping with climate mitigation and adaptation efforts,” the release notes.

The program is financed by the city’s tree replacement fund, which is made up of a portion of the money paid to the city for tree removal permits.