College Park's trusted source for daily news and updates since 2009

Category: Tree Canopy

Tree Pruning Work: April 2024

Alplundh, Pepco’s contractor, plans to prune or to remove trees for power line clearance for their four year maintenance cycle. The work is tentatively scheduled to start the last week of April 2024 and will occur for approximately one month. To learn more, visit

New Program will Help Residents with Tree Planting for Free

City can help residents with tree planting on their properties

City can help residents with tree planting on their properties.

Several months ago, when we were discussing the Tree Canopy Ordinance (21-O-09), a resident brought to my attention an excellent program in Montgomery county. The program, called TreeMontgomery, would allow residents to request trees be planted on their private property for free. The resident who talked to me about this program said she wants to plant several trees in her yard, but because of her age, she cannot do the digging. She is aware of the TCEP (Tree Canopy Enhancement Program)  but said buying trees and paying someone to plant the trees would be too expensive, and $250 would not be good enough. Also, she thinks many residents will not be interested in going through the process of planting trees themselves and going through the reimbursement process.

Thanks also to our city staff and the members of the city’s advisory board, the Tree and Landscape Board, who explored the idea of implementing a similar program in College Park. Also, with the help of TreeNewal professionals, they will educate people on how to properly take care of the trees.

I also encouraged staff to explore the idea further during our City Council discussion on City’s Tree Canopy ordinance. We were not quite sure if the program would be coming to College Park, but it looks like the Staff worked really hard to make it happen.

Staff developed a gauging interest form to obtain feedback from residents who would be interested in having a tree planted on their property but were unable to obtain or plant the tree themselves. At least 30 residents responded in the affirmative that they would be interested in a tree planting program on their property for a larger size tree. Residents who already have tree on their property were advised to schedule a regular tree trimming to sustain its health.

City staff learned that Casey Trees was expanding their tree planting program outside of Washington DC, into the surrounding metropolitan area and contacted them to discuss contracted tree planting in College Park. They were receptive to the idea and indicated they were working with other nearby jurisdictions to provide and plant trees on both public and private land.

Takoma Park publicly advertised an RFP for a tree planting contract in June 2022, submittals were due by July 12, 2022, and a contract was awarded to Casey Trees on August 11, 2022 for a two-year term. The Takoma Park contract identified a set price for a consultation between a Casey Trees representative and the property owner to select a tree species, identify a planting location, and provisions for supplying and planting the tree.

DPW staff spoke with  Casey Trees,  who signed the contract with Takoma Park, to determine if he would extend the Takoma Park contract terms to College Park. He indicated that he would honor the specified tree planting unit price of $325/tree if the City would perform the consultation with the property owner and provide Casey Trees with a document containing the specific details of each tree planting location. DPW staff believe that they can perform the consultation with the property owner, as the City Arborist is now on-board and comfortable with this role.

At the City’s option, the Contractor will perform the consultation for an additional fee. Staff contacted a private landscape company to inquire about the cost of supplying and planting trees on private property and were informed of a price that was double the unit price of the Takoma Park contract.

Staff estimates that the initial contracted tree planting by Casey Trees will include about 35 trees at locations where residents have expressed interest in this program to provide a way for residents to plant trees on their property that may not otherwise be possible. Staff believes this will help to increase the tree canopy in the City.

At next week’s meeting, the Council will consider approving a contract with Casey Trees to supply and properly plant trees from a mutually agreed upon list of tree species of designated size and quality on private residential property for a unit price of $325/tree from a list generated and provided by the City Arborist after consultation with the property owner.

Update : 2/15/2023

Residents can submit an interest form and request a tree on the city website for consideration. See the link below. We already have a list of around 30 residents who responded to the form and are interested in private tree planting.

Additionally, residents can email for any questions regarding the program or requests for any trees to be planted on public or private property.


Tree Permitting Waiver for 7/12/22 Storm-Related Damage

If you have a fallen or damaged tree on your property because of a weather emergency on 7-12-2022, you can remove the tree or fallen branches without a permit. Document or photograph the damage/emergency and send it to DPW at

Those who wish to remove or prune a surviving tree must submit an application for a permit.

Trees are a vital part of our ecosystem. A majority of the City’s tree canopy is in residential neighborhoods — this means our residents can make a big difference in helping to maintain our tree canopy!

On May 10, 2022, the City Council approved Ordinance 21-O-09, which will require a permit to remove trees on residential land. Starting July 1, 2022, those who wish to remove or prune a tree must submit an application for a permit. Applications are available online, and in-person at the Department of Public Works. There is no application fee to obtain a permit.

The ordinance was enacted to limit the removal of healthy, mature trees as a measure to maintain the City’s tree canopy. The Tree and Landscape Board and City Council held numerous public meetings and incorporated changes to address many concerns and suggestions from residents.

Residents, property owners, and tree and landscape companies may have many questions about this new permitting process. For details, FAQs and tree permit application, visit

[City of College Park]

Council to Vote on Tree Ordinance this Week

After many months of discussion, the City Council will vote on the proposed Tree Ordinance at this week’s Council meeting.

City’s tree canopy has been decreasing over the years, especially in the residential areas, and the ordinance is expected to help preserve the canopy in the coming years.

The ordinance will require residents to get permits to remove or prune (more than 20%) trees with a circumference between 36 inches and 80 inches. Permits will only be issued in certain circumstances (such as a dead tree, etc.).

If healthy trees are removed without a good reason, a resident will be required to replace the tree or pay a $250-$500 fee, depending on the size of the tree. Fees may be waived due to financial hardship.

Owners will be subjected to a $1,000 fine for removing or pruning (more than 20%) trees without a permit or failing to install replacement tree(s). There is an appeals process.

If approved, the ordinance will take into effect from July 1st, 2022.

Staff is requesting funding for a new City Arborist FTE to manage the new permit application process and urban tree program.

Please Let us know How we may Preserve and Enhance City’s Tree Canopy

We need your help – with ideas on how we can preserve and enhance College Park’s tree canopy.

Tonight, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed tree ordinance. The ordinance is being proposed to address the City’s declining number of tree stock that happened over recent years.

From 2009 to 2018, City’s tree canopy has gone down from 44% to 38%. Based on the declining rate, it’s estimated that the current canopy level is at 37%. This means the City has potentially lost about 43,000 trees between 2009 and now. A small fraction of this loss, unfortunately, was caused by developments (around 2% of total loss). The utility company Pepco also contributed to this loss (around 0.5%) due to their PSC-mandated tree clearance work.

Unfortunately, a vast majority of these losses occurred in the residential neighborhood as can be seen by the tree loss map presented in the 2019 Tree Canopy Assessment report.

Inaction to address the declining loss means the loss will continue and the City may potentially lose another 24,000 trees by 2025.

As part of the City’s 2021-2025 strategic plan, the City Council has set a goal to turn this declining rate of tree stock and add instead 18,000 trees (40% canopy) by 2025. With this goal in mind, the City Council has changed City’s Tree and Landscaping Board (TLB) to come up with a proposal to preserve and enhance City’s tree canopy in the future.

Among several recommendations, the TLB has asked the City to increase the funds for the existing Tree Canopy Enhancement Program (TCEP), and create a new fund called Tree Maintenance Fund (TMF), to help residents with costs associated with tree maintenance and assessment of trees on their properties. TLB also asked to run an intensive educational campaign among residents about the importance of tree preservation and planting and to create a tree registry.

The TLB has also recommended working with the County government to change the tree canopy-related development laws so that the developers must replant trees lost during developments and asked the City to lobby the County so that the residents can take rain check rebates for planting trees on their properties.

Additionally, the TLB studied tree ordinances in other local towns that faced similar issues with declining loss of trees and recommended a tree ordinance. This ordinance includes a proposal to include enforcement and penalties for removing trees greater than 36” in circumference (12” in diameter) or pruning more than 20% of a tree canopy without a permit. The permit program also asks to implement a tree replacement requirement for tree canopy protection policy.

The Council will hold a public hearing on this ordinance at tonight’s meeting, starting at 7:30 pm. If you cannot attend the meeting, please send your comments to the Mayor and Council at before 5 pm today. The City Council will, however, will not vote on this topic tonight. Instead, we’ll have a brief discussion about the next step in the proposed ordinance.

Community Forum on Preserving and Enhancing Tree Canopy in College Park

Trees offer so many benefits to our community. Unfortunately, College Park’s tree canopy is going down at an alarming rate. Between 2009 and 2018, we lost about 37,000 trees in College Park. As part of the recent 5-years Strategic Plan, the City Council has decided to reverse this course and increase City’s tree canopy coverage from 38% (in 2018) to 40% in 2025. Please join your Councilmembers from District 1 and 4 this Sunday, at 4 pm for a community conversation on how, as a community, we can reach that goal and make College Park a healthy and attractive community in the future.

when: 4 pm, Sunday, August 8, 2021
Zoom link:
Join by Phone: (301) 715 – 8592 Meeting ID: 841 0180 7618 Passcode: 126208

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén