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Adopt-A-Tree Program

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Leon County is proud to offer the 2023 Adopt-a-Tree Program. Applications are now being accepted through January 31, 2023, on a first-come, first-served basis. 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 2007, through the Adopt-a-Tree Program, Leon County has planted 4,107 trees in nearly 250 neighborhoods. Residents will have the option to have a tree delivered to their residence for planting at their own convenience. This creates a fun and educational project for the whole family, and instructions for tree planting and tree care will be provided when the tree is delivered. Those who would like staff to assist with planting their tree can request the tree planting service.

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. To learn more about tree care, click here. To find other tree resources, click 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 maximizes benefits. Take note of site factors such as sun or shade, soil type, and drainage, and find a tree species that fits those characteristics. When finding the right place, 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, should also be considered.

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Picture: Dahoon Holly berries, John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Dahoon Holly, Ilex cassine, is a small tree with smooth, shiny, evergreen leaves. Typically growing to a height of 20 to 30 feet and an 8 to 12-foot spread, it can make an attractive screening plant for privacy. Like all hollies, it has male and female flowers on separate plants. When both are planted in the landscape, brilliant red berries result in the fall and winter and are an excellent food source for wildlife. Dahoon Holly grows well in full sun to partial shade and does best in moist soils. This plant is a beautiful addition to a landscape that adds interest at a time of year when most plants are near dormant.

 

Picture: Blackgum, T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Black Tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica, or Blackgum, as it is sometimes called, is a medium- to large-sized tree that typically grows to 65 to 75 feet in height but has a narrower crown spread at 25 to 35 feet, making it a nice shade tree for smaller spaces. Black Tupelo has a spectacular red to purple fall color and small, hard blue fruits that are minimally noticeable to people but very attractive to birds and other wildlife. This tree likes moist soils but can also do well in more compacted soils. Black Tupelo tends to form a straight trunk with well-formed branches.

 

Picture: The Wye Oak in Maryland, one of the largest white oaks in the nation, Martin MAcKenzie, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

White Oak, Quercus alba, is a large, long-lived shade tree that typically grows 60–100 feet in height and has a spread of 50–90 feet. This tree provides expansive shade and appreciates a lower point in your yard. The acorns provide a food source for wildlife, and like most oaks, they host a wide variety of caterpillars that are a major source of food for our native and migrating songbirds. The white oak is a structurally durable tree that forms strong branch attachments, making it resistant to storm damage and a stately addition to your landscape

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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 three 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 two to three 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 that is at least three feet wide. This reduces competition from turf roots and weeds and protects your tree from damage by lawn mowers and trimmers. The mulch should be two to three inches deep and four inches away from the trunk of the tree. You can make the mulch ring wider as the tree grows.

Do not use lawn or 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.

The sign-up for the Adopt-a-Tree program has ended.  Please fill out the form below to be notified of the next sign-up.

 

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