Act fast to get free tree for your yard

Covington Forestry program expands shade canopy in certain neighborhoods

COVINGTON, Ky. – If you live in one of 12 neighborhoods listed below and want a free tree to plant in your yard – a big tree, not a tiny “whip” sapling – then act fast.

Thanks to a Duke Energy Community Impact grant, Covington’s Forestry Division has 75 trees to give away, and they will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to property owners who register on the Tree for Me webpage operated by the OKI Regional Council of Governments.

Two things make the giveaway unusual:

  • The trees come in containers that are 5 gallons to 7 gallons in size, so they are larger than the “whips” or bare-root seedlings typically given out.
  • And the trees are to be planted on private property in Covington – not in the public right of way.

“We’re constantly trying to expand Covington’s tree canopy as a way to add beauty, shade, and a calming aura in both our residential neighborhoods and our business districts,” said Patrick Moore, Covington’s Urban Forester. “But we’re limited in what we can do in publicly owned areas like those near sidewalks because there’s only so many spaces and because those areas tend to be hemmed in by powerlines and other obstructions, meaning we have to plant trees that won’t grow tall or spread out. This program allows us to plant bigger trees in bigger areas.”

It's the second giveaway funded by Duke’s community program. A similar event in May gave away 30 trees.

Eligible neighborhoods

Initially, applicants must live in these neighborhoods: Old Town/Mutter Gottes, Seminary Square,  Eastside, Helentown, Austinburg, Westside, West Latonia, Rittes East Latonia, Latonia Milldale, City Heights, Kuhr’s Lane, and Peaselburg.

That’s because OKI uses federal environmental justice guidelines to direct tree giveaways to neighborhoods that are most in need of a tree canopy (i.e. are “heat islands”) and whose populations typically have a difficult time finding trees.

If all 75 trees aren’t claimed within two weeks, the giveaway will be expanded citywide, Moore said.

Must be picked up

People who reserve a tree can pick it up at one of two different times: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Public Works Forestry garage in Devou Park. The address is 1625 Montague Road, between Home Road and Sleepy Hollow Road.

Bring an ID that matches the name you signed up with.

Species available

OKI’s mapping program will take into account your address and its surroundings and may suggest one or more of the species available: Persimmon, Eastern redbud, Bald cypress, Magnolia x “Jane” MS, Crabapple Raindrops®, Dawn redwood, Black Gum “Wildfire,” London plane tree “Exclamation!”™, Elm “Allee,” Swamp white oak, and Japanese tree lilac “Ivory Silk.”

Other events

The giveaway is one of several tree-related events in which Forestry is involved this fall.

Others include a volunteer tree maintenance event in Devou Park on Oct. 21 and a volunteer tree planting in the Eastside neighborhood Nov. 4. Watch the City’s Facebook page and news releases for details on those events.

arlier this year, the national Arbor Day Foundation named Covington a Tree City USA for the 19th year in a row and gave it a Tree City Growth Award for the seventh year in a row. Covington was also recognized for the second year in a row as a Tree City of the World, one of only 169 cities in the world to achieve that recognition.