Blog Post By Jona Elwell

Welcome These New Free Tree Options

As a District Resident you can get trees – for free! No, really. 

Through the Riversmart Homes Program, you can accentuate your home with a beautiful shade tree at no cost. To register, submit an application with the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and we’ll do all we can to get your tree planted in the spring or fall.

Our programs use trees selected for their suitability to Washington, D.C. Our professionals will help you choose the trees that fit best in your yard. Whether you want fragrant flowers, privacy, shade from a dense canopy, pollinators, or whatever fits your yard best, we have something for everyone!

We recently added some new trees to our residential arsenal. Who made the cut?

Witchhazel | Hamamelis virginiana
Good for your yard, not just your skin! Witch hazel is an excellent understory tree that produces fiery-yellow, fragrant flowers that stand out in the fall and winter. The extract witchhazel is distilled from the bark of young stems and roots.

Sycamore | Platanus occidentalis
The American sycamore is a tough, wide-canopied tree that will provide plenty of shade in the summer. Its signature brown bark exfoliates to reveal creamy whiter inner bark that can be seen from a great distance. Typically growing to its largest size along rivers and streams, this tree is highly resistant to pollution, salty soils and other urban stressors.


Black Willow | Salix nigra
The black willow has elongated green leaves and dark brown to black, deeply-furrowed bark. The tiny yellowish-green flowers that appear in catkins in the spring provide nectar for bees and other pollinators.


London Plane | Platanus X acerifolia
Known for its canopies over the boulevards of Europe, the London planetree is a tough and majestic shade tree with attractive, mottled grayish-white bark that peels in the fall, and playful, round seed heads that dangle from branches providing seasonal interest in the fall and winter.


Paw Paw | Asimina triloba
At the north end of its range in D.C., the pawpaw is an under-used (not for long!), small tropical tree with lustrous, dark-green leaves. Its deep-purple spring flowers produce clusters of kidney-shaped fruit that taste like a banana crossed with a mango. Animals enjoy the fruit, so the tree should be netted to protect the fruit for human consumption, however, deer will not eat pawpaw leaves. Want to know about this regional delicacy? Join us at the first annual Pawpaw Party!

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