Parks and Recreation Department to distribute free trees

The city will give out free trees in April. You can get one easily; all you have to do is ask and make a commitment to take care of it.

At the Jan. 26 meeting of Northeast EPIC Stakeholders, Erica Smith Fichman of the Parks and Recreation Department announced the city’s intention to get 15,000 trees planted this year.

The trees, which will grow to various sizes, will be distributed from a site yet to be determined on Wednesday, April 25, from 4 to 7 p.m., and on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The trees are for front, back and side yards, she told the Frankford residents gathered at the Stakeholders session at Aria Health’s Frankford campus.

Getting them planted will bolster the city’s “urban forests,” she said. That will increase shade and decrease flooding. Trees soak up rain.

Each household can get only one tree, but another can be obtained when the city gives out trees again in the fall. The giveaways will be in containers and be about 5 feet tall when distributed, she said.

Frankford is a neighborhood with a lot of very old and beautiful trees, but not every property has room for trees. Even a small tree needs about 10 feet by 10 feet for growing space. Larger trees might need three times as much space.

Residents can sign up for a tree by March 31. Go to treephilly.org for an application or call 215–683–0217.

“Everyone will get a tree,” Fichman said.

Residents must pledge they are Philadelphia property owners and that they’ll plant their trees within 15 days on their own land. They also must agree to water and protect their trees. When residents pick up their trees, Fichman said, they receive instructions on how to plant and care for them. It’s first-come-first-served, she said, so get requests in soon. ••