by Chey Scott
Continuing efforts of the Forest Spokane Initiative — which aims to plant 10,000 new trees across the City of Spokane by the end of this year — the city's Residential Tree Program is again giving away free trees to residents within city limits.
At distribution events this spring and again later this fall, a combined 2,000 trees are to be given away through the program. When planted in residential areas, these trees help mitigate stormwater runoff from reaching the Spokane River. Property owners who live within the city can register for one tree, and any remaining trees that weren't set aside for pre-registration will be given away — first come, first served — on Saturday, April 24.
To reserve a tree, city residents can fill out an online form, but note that you need to choose a specific tree species when you do. Sixteen species are being offered at two distribution sites, including redwood, oak, maple, magnolia and others.
It's also important to determine where you'll be planting the tree before you choose. The mature tree's height and circumference might limit where you can plant, based on other trees in your yard, overhead wires and other factors. To make finding that information easy, the above link to the species list includes that information and ideal growing conditions for all trees.
As anyone who's purchased started trees from a nursery knows, they're not cheap. This is a great program for city residents to take advantage of, while greening up your own backyard and helping keep the local watersheds healthy and clean.