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, Tree and Landscape Board, who explored the idea of implementing a similar program in College Park.

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.

https://www.collegeparkmd.gov/FormCenter/DPW-10/Tree-Request-Form-76

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