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Richmond residents: Get in line for free trees

Andy Thompson

August 21, 2014 10:24am

I thought I’d pass along this news from our friends at the James River Association because it combines two of my favorite words: “free” and “trees.” The statewide conservation group is offering free trees to Richmond city residents during the fall planting season. Homeowners can receive up to a $200 reimbursement per home for trees planted on their property. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

Tree-lined Seminary Avenue on Richmond's Northside. Credit: Phil Riggan

Tree-lined Seminary Avenue on Richmond’s Northside. Credit: Phil Riggan

As the JRA writes in a press release: Trees are an important feature for any property because they reduce stormwater runoff and provide aesthetic value. Tree canopies capture and store rainfall and reduce soil erosion. They take up a large amount of water from the soil and provide important habitat for wildlife. Their shade can also help homeowners reduce the cost of cooling their home.

The free tree program is only open to City of Richmond residents and reimbursements are available September through November of this year. Homeowners must be an existing River Hero Home or submit an application to become a new River Hero Home to qualify. That may sound like a catch, but if you’re the kind of homeowner who likes the idea of free trees, you probably would be interested in the River Hero Home program, too. It’s not a difficult process, and it’s well worth it for $200 of free trees.

River Hero Homes is JRA’s certification program that recognizes homeowners who are successfully taking steps to improve water quality by reducing the amount of stormwater and pollution leaving their property. To become certified, JRA requires homeowners to install a river-friendly practice, such as planting trees or installing a rain barrel, as well as following some simple everyday actions to reduce pollution. These actions, which include picking up after your pet or planting native plants, may seem small, but when adopted on a wide scale, can have a significant impact on local water quality.

Tree reimbursements are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be available until funding runs out.


About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?