Apply now to get a free tree next fall

If you’re interested in applying to get a free sidewalk tree from the City next fall, it’s time to fill out an application and get it in by the deadline on March 25.  Applications are also available at the PHCA office.

A free tree does come with some responsibilities.  By signing the Tree Planting Request Form, you, the property owner, agree that:

• A representative of the City of Pittsburgh will inspect your location and determine whether it is an appropriate site for a tree(s) to be planted.

• The City shall determine an appropriate tree species for your location.

• If the site requires it, you give permission for a tree pit to be cut in your sidewalk or pavement. (tree pits are required to be 30 square feet — typically, that’s a 3′ x 10′ cut)

• You will water the tree (approximately 20 gallons per week− the cost is less than $1 per year) March through December for two years.

• You will protect your tree from damage by cars, lawn mowers, etc.

• You will notify the City of Pittsburgh if the tree appears to be sick or damaged.

• If you cancel the tree installation after signing this form and the pavement has been cut, you will be responsible for replacing the pavement at your expense.

Applicants should understand that:

• Your request for a tree may be denied—not all sites are appropriate for tree planting.

• Street trees and trees in the public right-of-way are the property and responsibility of the City of Pittsburgh. Trees planted outside of the public right-of-way are the responsibility of the property owner.

• Only the City of Pittsburgh can authorize major pruning or removal of street trees.

Tree distribution is also partially dependent on how many Tree Tenders a neighborhood has — Polish Hill currently has 10.  For more information on trees and tree planting in our area, look on the Western PA Conservancy Treevitalize site, or on the Tree Pittsburgh website.

(Photo:  Polish Hill neighborhood volunteers plant a tree on Melwood Avenue, 2008, photo by Leslie Clague)