Urban trees provide many environmental, economic, social, and health benefits to the community, including: reducing stormwater runoff, improving water and air quality, reducing neurotoxic exposures that can impair brain development in babies and young children, increasing biodiversity and resiliency against invasive species, moderating summer temperatures, lowering utility costs, improving quality of life, and beautifying the city. Our urban tree canopy is therefore crucial to our resiliency and carbon neutrality work. A properly managed urban tree canopy can create a safer and healthier future for residents, especially for those who are most vulnerable. But an urban tree canopy doesn’t just include the trees lining our streets, in our parks, and around our public buildings. It’s also comprised of trees on private property, from single-family homes and multi-family residential sites to private businesses and houses of worship.
In recognition of this, the Office of Sustainability and Innovations has developed the 10,000 Trees Initiative with the goal of seeing 10,000 new trees planted on private property in the city by the year 2030. The trees added by this initiative will enhance our current canopy cover and will help to make our urban tree canopy more resilient by increasing both species and structural diversity. On this page, you can find information on the programs offered through this initiative and the ways in which you can get involved and add trees to your property. More information on Ann Arbor’s urban tree canopy can be found on the City’s
Forestry web page.
FreeTree Giveaway Program
Through the 10,000 Trees Initiative's FreeTree program, you can receive free seedlings to plant on your private property! All seedlings distributed through this program are donated to or purchased by the City of Ann Arbor and are provided to residents at no cost. All you need to do is register for a FreeTree event near you and request your trees, show up at the distribution site on the day of the event, pick up the seedlings in your vehicle, and take them home to plant! Delivery options are also available for those with mobility or access challenges. Tree care and planting information is provided with every tree.
We hold one FreeTree Giveaway event each year, in the spring. To be alerted when we have an upcoming event, please register for our mailing list here.
Community Tree Planting Program
Through the Community Tree Planting program, the City and a group of volunteers gather to plant trees in a neighborhood, apartment complex, or other community - at no cost to the residents! Prior to the planting event, OSI staff will work one-on-one with interested community residents to determine what species of tree will best fit their needs and their space. The City then works with area nurseries to purchase these trees and have them delivered the day of the volunteer planting event. Organization of each Community Tree Planting event is in collaboration with members of the community, as well as a local community-based organization.
To learn more about the Community Tree Planting program, check out this
blog post on our pilot event in the Bryant neighborhood during the fall of 2021.
If you are interested in organizing a tree planting in your community, please email Sean Reynolds at [email protected] with information on your community and contact information for a local community-based organization. Those interested in volunteering at a Community Tree Planting event can check out our volunteer info below!
Tree Info Cards. Every tree planted through the 10,000 Trees Initiative comes with an informational card specific to that tree species! Below you can find links to the digital versions of each of these cards.
Virtual Tree Tours. Get to meet some of Ann Arbor's tree species through our
virtual tree tour. Simply click a tree on the map to bring up a link where you can explore the tree from different angles! And check out the video below for a guided version of the tour, led by Community Sustainability Coordinator Sean Reynolds. The City has also created a virtual tour of Ann Arbor's champion trees - the largest of each tree species within the city! Check it out here.
Trees of Ann Arbor. Managing our city’s urban tree canopy properly relies on knowing what trees we have. You can help us inventory our city’s trees by joining our
Trees of Ann Arbor project on iNaturalist! iNaturalist is a phone application that can be used to make observations of the natural world around you – from recordings of bird songs to pictures of trees and wildlife. It’s also a great tool for learning to ID these natural wonders – if you don’t know what something is, simply submit an observation and the online community of naturalists will be able to identify it for you! To learn more about how to download and use the iNaturalist app and join the Trees of Ann Arbor project, check out our Using iNaturalist how-to guide.
Pocket Forests. Small areas of densely planted native trees and shrubs can help sequester large amounts of carbon, increase the biodiversity of our urban tree canopy, and lower urban temperatures. Want to learn more about these "pocket forests" and how you could install one on your property? Check out this flyer put together by
Urban Wood Utilization. What happens to our dead and dying urban trees after they're removed? Typically, they're turned into mulch and firewood - processes that release most of the carbon stored within the wood. But, the City is working with
Urban Ashes to change that status quo here in Ann Arbor by implementing the Circular UrbanWood Triconomy (CUT) Model - in which trees are removed in such a way as to preserve the wood for use as lumber, keeping most of the carbon sequestered! Learn more by watching the short video below, or check out
Other Ways to Get Involved
Volunteer. We are currently recruiting volunteers to help run our FreeTree Giveaway events and/or plant trees at our Community Tree Planting events. If you are interested in volunteering, please email Sean Reynolds at
email@example.com and indicate which events you are interested in helping with. Please keep in mind that the Community Tree Planting events are labor-intensive and will require digging and heavy lifting.
Interested in helping to take care of our city's public trees and parks? Check out the
Citizen Pruner Program and the
Natural Area Preservation volunteer program. In addition, OSI has adopted
Bandemer Park and holds a monthly workday there with
GIVE365 (on the third Tuesday of each month, except December-February). If you are interested in volunteering to help maintain Bandemer Park with OSI (by picking up trash, removing invasives, clearing brush from trails, etc.), please email Melissa Schacht at
Subscribe. Interested in receiving news about upcoming events? Subscribe to our 10,000 Trees Initiative Mailing list