L.A. City partnership plants hope with free trees during COVID-19 crisis

Trees help reduce stress, lower asthma rates and save energy costs

OW Staff Writer | 7/2/2020, midnight

As Angelenos stay home to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, a City of Los Angeles partnership is offering a unique way to bring families and neighborhoods together and build healthy communities—with free trees. As part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Green New Deal goal to plant 90,000 trees by 2021, city agencies have partnered with nonprofits to bring this program to Angelenos.

The City of L.A.’s free tree program can plant free street trees for City of Los Angeles residents and business owners. Trees will be planted in the parkway, the space between the sidewalk and the curb. City Plants, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of trees in L.A., has partnered with the mayor’s office the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), LA Sanitation & Environment (LASAN) and StreetsLA to offer the free street trees program.

Signing up for a free tree is simple. After receiving an online application, City Plants will visit the site to determine if there are appropriate tree planting spaces, and what type of tree is best. Once planted, residents are asked to water their new tree for three years to allow its roots to grow deeper into the ground and become established.

The whole process is easy and taken care of for the resident. All they need to do is enjoy the new tree and water it! It costs less than $10 a year to water a newly planted tree in L.A.

The program states that trees clean the air cool streets and homes, fight climate change, reduce energy costs and make neighborhoods more beautiful. Studies have shown that increasing the number of trees in a neighborhood reduces the rate of asthma and improves mental health. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service has found that access to trees decreases stress and anxiety.

Trees can also help save on energy bills. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that trees can reduce air conditioning costs by 30 percent. In fact, the net cooling effect of a healthy tree planted can be equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating on a hot day!

Note that during the COVID-19 crisis, all tree planting crews are following physical distancing guidelines with residents and business owners throughout this process to ensure the health and safety of every Angeleno. Visit coronavirus.lacity.org for a list of resources on how to stay informed, safe and healthy during this time.

For more information about the City of L.A.’s free tree program and to sign up for free street