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Adopt-A-Tree Program

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Leon County is proud to offer the 2021 Adopt A Tree Program. If you live inside Leon County, but outside of Tallahassee city limits, you may qualify to have a tree planted on your property for free.

Since 2012, Leon County has planted nearly 2,000 trees in over 200 neighborhoods. Due to the pandemic, this year residents will have the option to have a tree delivered to their residence for planting at their own convenience. Of course, those who need assistance or would like staff to assist with planting their tree can still request the free planting service. This change creates an opportunity for a fun and educational family project, and instructions for tree planting and tree care will be provided when the tree is delivered. 

If you agree to water the tree three times a week for one year, Leon County will plant the tree anywhere between your house and any publicly maintained road or any privately maintained road with public access. Learn more about tree care and find other tree resources here.

Right Tree Right Place

Matching the right tree to the right place is the best way to ensure the health and longevity of our trees. A tree that has its needs met is better able to withstand the pressures of insects, disease, or other stress factors. Choosing the right tree for the right place ensures vibrant health, reduces maintenance, and maximum benefits. Take note of site factors such as sun/shade, soil type, and drainage, and find a tree species that fits those characteristics. Equally important is considering the mature size of the tree compared to the space constraints of the location, including overhead utility wires, nearby structures and hardscapes, and other plants.

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Sweetbay Magnolia- Magnolia virginiana, is a slender evergreen to semi-evergreen tree that is great for locations where there’s a bit less space for a wide canopy. It typically grows to 40-50 feet in height with a spread of 15 to 20 feet. White, lemon-scented flowers appear from June through September, giving way to small red seeds which are used by a variety of wildlife. In the wild, you will often see Sweetbay Magnolia in wetland areas, but it does very well in urban soils.

 

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Swamp White Oak- Quercus bicolor, is a large shade tree with a spreading canopy that can grow to a mature height of 50-70 feet. Oaks make excellent habitat for birds and are host to hundreds of species of caterpillars which provide a food source for insectivorous birds. 

 

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Red Buckeye- Aesculus pavia, is a small native tree that reaches 15-20 feet in height with an about equal spread. Red Buckeye is most known for its 3-6 inch long red blooms which attract hummingbirds. This tree is shade tolerant, but it does well in a variety of exposures.

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Tree Care

The best way to give your tree a good start is to water it regularly.

For the first two weeks after transplanting, provide 3 gallons of water daily. Afterwards, water two to three times each week for the duration of the growing season. More may be required during periods of drought. As the tree grows, apply 2 to 3 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter over the root ball. The soil should be moist but not waterlogged.

Maintain a layer of mulch around your tree at least 3’ in width. This reduces competition from turf roots and weeds, and protects your tree from damage by lawn mowers and trimmers. The mulch should be 2-3” in depth and 4” away from the trunk of the tree. You can make the mulch ring wider as the tree grows.

Do not use lawn/weed chemicals or herbicides around the tree. Fertilization is not required. Pruning is not recommended in the first three years, except in the case of broken, dead or diseased branches.

Individuals living within the Tallahassee city limits are encouraged to take advantage of the City of Tallahassee’s Adopt-a-Tree program by visiting Talgov.com/AdoptATree.

If you are having issues with the form above, please call Judith McMurtry at (850) 606-1400.