CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Parks is giving away free trees in hopes of protecting the environment and property within the city limits.
"Here at Cincinnati Parks, one of our big priorities is conservation and sustaining the environment," said Rocky Merz, Business Services Division manager. "The ReLeaf Program gives property owners an opportunity to help improve the environment and improve their own homes by planting a tree."
Besides beautifying property, the ReLeaf Program, run by the Park Board’s Urban Forestry Division, aims to cut down the negative impact of storm water runoff.
“One large tree can account for 400 to 1,000 gallons of storm water runoff,” said Merz. That benefits property owners by reducing soil erosion and managing flooding.
The ReLeaf Program has given away nearly 20,000 trees since it began in 1988, according to Cincinnati Parks.
“We typically average between 500 to 1,000 trees a year,” said Merz. “I think we’ll exceed that this year.”
Anyone can apply online and get more information. Trees must be planted within city limits and the forestry staff must approve the site. The deadline to apply is Oct. 4, 2019.
The Park Board is especially interested in giving trees to communities with less than 40% tree canopy, and those areas will get priority, Merz said.
Target neighborhoods below that goal include:
- Avondale (34%)
- Bond Hill (23%)
- Camp Washington (8%)
- Carthage (16%)
- Corryville (11%)
- East End (27%)
- Evanston (29%)
- Hartwell (31%)
- Linwood (20%)
- Lower Price Hill (18%)
- Mount Auburn (35%)
- Oakley (24%)
- Pleasant Ridge (34%)
- Queensgate (9%)
- Roselawn (22%)
- Walnut Hills (30%)
Frank Burton of Evanston is a big fan of trees. He says trees add beauty and protect the environment.
“I love all greenery, not only trees. But I love trees more because they’re the tallest,” Burton said. “If it rains, storms, your property will mostly get damaged without the trees’ protection.”
The Duke Energy Foundation and the Cincinnati Parks Foundation provide support for the ReLeaf Program.