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Free Trees for Your Front Yard

While Trees Atlanta may be best known around town for planting street trees and in public parks and right-of-way space, our tree planting doesn’t end where private property begins. Last season, we planted nearly 800 trees in front yards around the metro Atlanta area, generously funded by contracts with several cities.

With just a few clicks, residents in the cities of Atlanta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, and Sandy Springs can sign up for a front yard tree (up to three) this fall. We offer a variety of canopy tree species for front yard planting, and a NeighborWoods coordinator can work with you to select the best tree for your yard. Once you confirm species and planting location, Trees Atlanta staff and volunteers will come out to plant your tree after planting season begins in October.

 

Volunteers planting front yard tree

 

There are so many reasons to consider planting a tree (or two or three!) in your front yard. In addition to the oft-recited benefits of trees — cooling shade, cleaner air, runoff reduction, and the like — trees planted in your front yard offer value in ways both quantifiable and less so. Three strategically planted trees can reduce a home’s summer air conditioning needs by up to fifty percent, and you can expect to notice savings in energy consumption within five years of planting a canopy tree in your yard. Trees can help mitigate winter weather, too, by blocking and absorbing chilly winds. Canopy trees also provide excellent habitat and food sources for our urban fauna, and studies show that trees are beneficial for human wellness and mental health.

Planting a canopy tree in your yard isn’t just a win for you. Sure, you’ll be the one noticing your reduced air conditioning bill, but a tree planted benefits your community at large. Approximately eighty percent of Atlanta’s tree canopy is on single-family residential zoned property, and those are the trees we’re losing rapidly to development and growth. Beautify your yard, bolster our beloved canopy, help shade your street — could such positive effects be any easier accomplished?

 

Atlanta skyline and trees

Photo by Curbed Atlanta

What’s more, you’d be doing the trees a favor as well. Unsurprisingly, the right-of-way strips along urban streets are not any tree’s ideal growing conditions. There are trees that can handle the toughest environment (hello, crape myrtle), but oh, to have ample growing space and soil volume for the majestic white oak or breathtaking yellowwood! Front yards lend a tree more space to spread its roots, and soils in yards (versus in right-of-way strips) tend to be less compacted, making for a happier, healthier tree. While a street tree’s life expectancy is typically shortened significantly due to its challenging growing conditions, a well-selected yard tree has the potential to mature into one of the magnificent, long-lived canopy trees we love so fondly.

There you have it, a non-exhaustive case for front yard trees. If you just can’t wait another moment to submit your request for yard trees, go ahead — I won’t keep you. If, however, you’re not quite there (trees are, after all, long-term investments deserving of careful consideration), read on!

Like any good investment for your home, trees require some maintenance to maximize your return. You can set a strong foundation for a long-lived, healthy, structurally sound tree by pruning and taking good care when it’s young and establishing. Set your tree up for success! Sign up for one of our pruning classes to learn more about the long-lasting benefits of structural pruning.

 

 

If it’s leaf litter you’re worried about, consider this: raking leaves is an excellent form of exercise! Unconvinced? Luckily, if you choose to leave fallen leaves unraked, they are hugely beneficial for your yard and its micro-ecosystem. Not only does leaf litter replenish the soil as it decomposes, but the cover also provides key foraging opportunities for birds and habitat for a wide variety of critters. Save yourself time and money and learn to love the leaves!

Are you interested in a front yard tree but unsure where or what to plant? Do you have more questions about our front yard tree planting program? The NeighborWoods team can help select a species from our list well-suited for your yard and landscaping goals, and we’re here to answer any questions you might have. Find out more information, submit a request, or give us a shout at neighborwoods@treesatlanta.org.

 

Published July 21, 2020

Written by Cate Hughes