Get a free tree from the city of San Diego

Posted at 7:25 PM, May 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-17 14:13:04-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - This is one unique delivery. One for which you don't have to pay or lift a finger.

If you live or own property in the City of San Diego, you may be eligible for a free tree or trees. 

The city of San Diego contracts a tree service crew to not only deliver but dig and plant trees in your neighborhood right of ways.

"We had a tree before that was diseased,” said Kensington resident Ed Smith.

Smith got a new tree in its place to compliment what he already has in the front of his home in Kensington.

"Tree-lined streets in Kensington are one of the reasons that attracted us to this neighborhood,” said Smith.

You too can have tree-lined streets in your neighborhood. All you have to do is make the request for a free tree on the city's Get-it-Done app which you can download on the city’s website or on your smartphone. 

The city will send someone out to determine what tree is best to plant.

In Smith's case, it's a King palm.

"These are self-pruning, self maintaining, they don't have giant dates. That's a real plus for us,” said city arborist Sergio Arias.

Arias says the goal is to plant the right tree in the right space.

In North Park, the crew planted these two Crape Myrtle trees in front of another home.  

"It's going to be rooting down and not wide like this. It's not going to lift the sidewalk,” said Arias.

Residents must agree to water the trees for the first three years -  twice a week for the first year, twice a month for the second year and once a month for the third year. The city says it'll cost people about $6-7 a year. 

After that, Mother Nature will take care of them with rainwater.

“It is a pretty good deal,” said Smith.

And it benefits the entire community by helping to clean the air, cool our streets, prevent soil erosion, and even reduce violence. Researchers of sone student say green spaces have a calming effect and encourage people to spend more time outdoors.

So far, the city has planted 750 trees. The goal is to plant a thousand by the end of the year.

The program has actually been around for more than a decade, but Mayor Kevin Faulconer recently jumpstarted the free tree program. It's part of his Climate Action Plan to grow the city's urban forest by 2020. 

In his recent budget proposal, the mayor is recommending putting aside $100,000 for additional tree planting contracts. This is for all the tree planting the city is doing in parks and neighborhoods.