As Angelenos stay home to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, a City of Los Angeles partnership is offering a unique way to bring families and neighborhoods together and build healthy communities – with free trees.
There are so many benefits to trees: they clean the air we breathe, cool our streets and homes, fight climate change, reduce energy costs and make neighborhoods more beautiful. Studies have shown that increasing the number of trees in a neighborhood reduces the rate of asthma and improves mental health. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service has found that access to trees decreases stress and anxiety.
Trees can also help save on energy bills. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that trees can reduce air conditioning costs by 30%. In fact, the net cooling effect of a healthy tree can be equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating on a hot day!
As part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Green New Deal goal to plant 90,000 trees by 2021, city agencies have partnered with nonprofits to bring this program to Angelenos. The City of L.A.’s free tree program can plant free street trees for City of Los Angeles residents and business owners. Trees will be planted in the parkway, the space between the sidewalk and the curb. During the COVID-19 crisis, all tree planting crews are following physical distancing guidelines throughout this process to ensure the health and safety of every Angeleno.
To sign up for a free tree, residents just fill out the online application. City Plants – a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of trees in L.A., which has partnered with the city to offer the program – will visit the site to determine if there are appropriate tree planting spaces, and what type of tree is best. Once it is planted, residents are asked to water their new tree for three years to allow its roots to grow deeper into the ground and become established. It costs less than $10 a year to water a newly planted tree in L.A.
For more information and to sign up for a free street tree, click here.