Nothing’s free. That is unless you’re an Orlando resident who is in the market for a red maple, persimmon or nuttall oak. All the crape myrtles have been claimed.
The City of Orlando is celebrating earth month with a free tree giveaway for Orlandoans that live in a house with a yard within city limits. The program is part of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Green Works Orlando initiative. The trees will be delivered to the address as 2-4 feet saplings in a one gallon container. Chris Castro is the director of sustainability for the City of Orlando and said that since the program rolled out in 2016, over 8,000 trees have been given away.
“They also come with all types of educational material,” Castro said. “Everyone gets a one-pager about their tree species and it gives them all facts about the species – how to plant it properly. We have links to our website where we have videos of proper tree care and tree maintenance.”
Drue Nadrowski is an Eola Heights resident who recently took advantage of this tree giveaway. Nadrowski found out about the program through the City of Orlando’s email newsletter.
“I grew up in Winter Springs, and they did something similar there, so it caught my eye,” Nadrowski said. “I’m into gardening and I’m into my yard. So, maybe somebody who doesn’t do anything with their yard, it would seem more like a chore. But to me, it’s kind of like a fun activity. Something fun to do.”
Energy-Saving Trees is the name of the program, and the City of Orlando cites the reduced energy consumption of houses covered in shade from trees. The website where the trees are ordered claims that three to four mature shade trees (such as the summer red maple or nuttall oak) can cut energy prices in the summer by as much as 30%. Heightened property values and increased city tree canopy are other benefits cited on the Energy-Saving Trees’ website.
Residents can order a maximum of two trees. July 31 is the final day to take advantage of this program, but the trees are going quickly. To see if you qualify and to order a free tree, visit energysavingtrees.arborday.org. Learn more about the program at greenworksorlando.com.