Baltimore is endeavoring to double its tree canopy from 20 percent to 40 percent during the next three decades and is encouraging homeowners to get planting by offering free and discounted trees.
The city effort is called TreeBaltimore, and officials say it aims to add to the urban forest that does a number of things: provides shade, beautifies neighborhoods, cleans air and water, offers and home to birds and other animals, increases property values and removes carbon from the atmosphere that contributes to global warming.
The push is a mayoral initiative that began in 2007. The city settled on the 40 percent goal, but discovered that about 85 percent of the available planting space, i.e. grass, was on private property, according to Anne Draddy, who runs the city program. So, they began hitting up residents to do some planting and caring for trees.
Now, TreeBaltimore is giving away FREE trees to community groups and associations, so hook up with your group if you want one.
The city's Forestry Division plants about 1,000 street trees every spring and another 1,000 in the fall, Draddy said, so get your name on the list for the next go-round. The city Department of Transportation is also helping dig pits.
For more information, go to TreeBaltimore online, or e-mail Draddy at firstname.lastname@example.org.