Free Trees for Your Yard

Seattle reLeaf is offering free trees for your yard! The application (PDF) is at the bottom of this post.

The Seattle reLeaf Trees for Neighborhoods program is pleased to offer you free trees to plant in your yard. Planting trees is a great way to lower your carbon footprint. An average city tree will absorb about a ton of harmful carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Urban trees also help keep our water clean, our air breathable, provide habitat for birds and other wildlife and make Seattle a vibrant place to live and work.

Tree supply is limited, so it is first come, first served. Applications will not be accepted after Dec 6. Program participants will receive up to 4 free trees per household, watering bags, a bag of GroCo compost, and training on proper tree planting and care.

Available species include:

  • Shore pine (Pinus contorta ‘Contorta’)
  • Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)
  • Red oak (Quercus rubra)
  • Western red cedar (Thuja plicata ‘Excelsa’)
  • Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

To receive a free tree, you must meet these guidelines:

  • Live in Seattle, and plant the tree on your property (renters must have their landlord’s permission)
  • Plant the trees in your yard, and not as street trees
  • Do NOT plant the trees under power lines (these are large trees that will eventually grow into the lines)
  • Commit to caring for the tree in the future, including watering for the first 3 summers

To get your trees, send in the application ASAP. Questions can be directed to:
Jana Dilley
Seattle reLeaf

2010 Trees for Neighborhoods Application

3 comments to Free Trees for Your Yard

  • Cindy Riskin

    Tree Size?
    Dear Ms. Dilley:
    Will the city be offering any trees of more-appropriate size for an urban lot?
    Thank you for your time.
    Cindy Riskin

  • Sue

    Thanks so much for this posting. I lost two beautiful evergreens in the windstorm the other night. Luckily the city had some left overs to give away on the 18th so I was able to get two new trees. There are many 30 foot trees in this neighborhood and I applaude the city for thinking big.

  • Cindy


    I’m really glad that you were able to replace your trees! I hope you and they spend a long, happy time together, along with all the wildlife they’ll attract.

    The city’s offerings are all beautiful trees. I applaud the city for investing in urban forestry.

    I’m looking for a medium-large, fastigate, deciduous tree, myself, to mitigate the heat from the sun on the south side of my house and to let it in during winter.

    I wish I could put in one of these trees, but the spread on all of them (except the T. plicata ‘Excelsa’) is too wide for anywhere in my near-quarter-acre yard.

    People might want to know the ultimate size of the offered trees:

    Shore pine (Pinus contorta var. contorta; 40-50 feet, spreading (which means at least as wide as tall)
    Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum; 40-60 feet tall, ultimately 100 feet tall; pyramidal when young and broad when older (meaning expect a good 40-foot spread, at least)
    Red oak (Quercus rubra; 60-75 feet, rounded habit, with massive limbs close to the ground
    Western red cedar (Thuja plicata ‘Excelsa’; This tree looks like a best bet for most yards. It’s a fastigate (narrow) and, some sites say, shorter version of the usual 50-200-foot W. red cedar. If you’re buying on your own, know that the Hogan cedar (also a form of Thuja plicata) is also an excellent option.
    Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii; 80-200 feet. Young trees dense and conical. (And by “young,” I imagine that they’re talking at LEAST the first 50 years if not more.)

    Too many shrubs and trees get planted that ultimately must be removed or constantly pruned because they grow “too big.” Think of how many beautiful rhododendrons are cut down every year, how many English laurels shock people with their ultimate size of 40′ x 40′.

    What really happens is that the wrong plant is planted in the wrong spot.

    I should know, having done plenty of that myself. Just check out my X Chitalpa tashkentensis ‘Pink Dawn’, which I planted too close to the wires. I’m dreading digging that one out!

    Best to you and all who “speak for the trees.” 🙂


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