City of San Diego property owners are eligible for free tree plantings.
By John P. Anderson
Back in April I wrote about a program ran by the Urban Corps of San Diego that plants free trees in front yards for property owners in San Diego. At the time I was living in an apartment and unable to partake of the green goodness but have since moved into a house – I can vote now! – and one of the first things I did upon moving in was contact the Urban Corps to get as many free trees as possible.
My yard already had a number of trees, all palms unfortunately, so although I applied for “as many as possible” on the application form I was only able to get one tree planted in my yard. Yes, that is actually an option on the application form. I applied for my tree on May 8th and it was planted, complete with support posts, on July 19th. The Urban Corps team evaluated my yard, marked the appropriate spot for the tree, called to check for utilities, then brought the tree (approximately 7.5 feet tall), dug the hole, and planted it. My cost: zero. Work required on my part: none. My responsibility: to water the tree occasionally. Sounds like a good deal to me.
The tree added to my yard is a Hong Kong Orchid (Bauhinia purpurea). Per the City of San Diego Street Tree Selection Guide this is a small canopy form tree that grows to a 15′ – 25′ spread. It is deciduous and flowering as well. They are relatively common along streets in San Diego and memorable for the large purple blooms they produce. Although I would have preferred to have a native, drought-tolerant plant any tree is better than no tree. If I had it over again I would make sure to note my preference for native trees on my application form when submitting since I didn’t have any contact with Urban Corps after submitting my application until the tree was in the ground.
Currently the Urban Forestry program of the Urban Corps is only open to City of San Diego residents so readers in La Mesa are out of luck for the time being. But for anyone owning a property from Barrio Logan to Rancho Bernardo or Pacific Beach you most likely qualify. The application is very simple and takes less than 2 minutes to complete.
Many thanks to the City of San Diego for sponsoring this wonderful program and to Urban Corps of San Diego for the effort and execution. Two months after planting my tree is doing great and I’m looking forward to enjoying the shade and beauty for many, many years to come. I invite other San Diegans to take advantage of this program and help to make our city better and healthier one tree at a time. All it takes is two minutes of your time.
Link to application: http://www.
Annie Lane says
Hey, John, great article. After reading your initial SD for Free article about this service, I, too, applied for some trees. It took a few months, but three Crape Myrtles are now planted in front of my house!
I can’t describe the joy they give me when I drive up to the house or look out of the front window. Several of my neighbors have asked me about them and can’t believe that there’s a free service like this out there.
Thanks for spreading the word and sharing pictures of the process!
John Anderson says
Thanks Annie and glad you got your trees. :) Glad to hear there are at least a few more in SD since my last article on this program.
Judi Curry says
I have been talking to the director – Doug Ledbetter – of Ft. Rosecrans cemetery and telling him what a mistake I think it is to plant Palm Trees there. Can you imagine bowing your head and being hit by a flying palm leaf on a windy day. Your article is perfect – sent it to him as soon as I read it! I need a few more people to tell him about Palm Trees in San Diego. (He’s from Ohio – thinks they are beautiful. They are, but what purpose do they serve? Can’t sit under one while visiting your loved one; no shade; etc. Thanks for the article.
John Anderson says
I can’t agree more Judi and I’m so disappointed to see new projects like the North Embarcadero and Horton Plaza revamp feature palms prominently (or exclusively).