Now’s a Good Time to Plant a New Tree (and get a Rebate!)

Photo by PoPville flickr user dcjabbour

From a press release:

Spring is an ideal time to plant trees and Casey Trees offers rebates up to $100 per tree to individuals who plant trees on private property — residential or commercial — in the District.

Small and medium canopy trees — including standard-size fruit and trees — are eligible for rebates up to $50 per tree, as long as the tree reaches 15 feet tall and wide at maturity. Seven genera and 27 species noted for their large canopy and environmental benefits qualify for rebates up to $100 per tree. There is no limit to the number of rebates per property.

Invasive tree species and any species of ash, dwarf trees and shrubs do not qualify for a rebate of any amount.

To help customers identify rebate-eligible tree stock, many D.C.-area nurseries and home improvement centers are promoting the program in their stores with promotional signage and special tree tags. However, trees may be purchased from any store and through landscaping and landscape architecture companies.

The Tree Rebate program is funded by the District Department of the Environment.

Downloadable rebate forms, submission instructions and a complete list of trees eligible for the increased rebate are available at

10 Comment

  • ah

    This is a great program and you actually do get the check pretty quickly after sending in the materials (which is a short form and a receipt). It’s not like those rebate scams where it falls into a black hole until you call 6-8 weeks later to find out where your money is.

    I’ve taken advantage of the program several times and have a few nice trees as a result.

  • Slightly off topic: I’ve had a request in via 311 for more than 1 year to have a new tree planted on the grass sidewalk strip in front of my house.

    Are there any secrets to actually getting one planted? Am I allowed to do it myself? (if i wanted to)

    • ah

      1) DDOT has an odd timetable for tree planting. It’s something like: all requests by March 1 will get planted the following winter; all requests after March 1 will be two winters later. You can get more info on DDOT’s website, and the subwebsite for d.trees. That could explain your situation. Or it could be they just lost track of it.

      2) You need a permit to plant your own tree in the tree space. I think the permit is free, but I’m not sure. It’s on the public space part of the DDOT website.

      • It’s not so odd when you realize that most trees (except oaks and a few others) prefer being planted in the fall/winter. Transplanting trees is very stressful to the plant, and digging them up in the fall allows for the least amount of damage done by the transplanting process.

        That being said, DDOT also has a backlog, so I wouldn’t hold your breath.

        • ah

          True. By “odd” I was referring to the advanced notice required rather than the timing of the actual planting, which is fairly sensible.

    • You just need to get a request in by June 15th to be planted a few months later during the planting season (roughly Nov – April). There may be any number of reasons why a tree hasn’t been planted, including conflicts with utilities or other infrastructure such as adjacent trees, long-term construction plans for the area that make it better to wait until it’s done, or other issues the inspecting arborist saw. It might be worth submitting another 311 request as the comments are now public so you can see what the arborist decides.

      I’d have to know your specific situation to give you anything more accurate but public requests for new trees are put at the top of the planting lists to make sure they are filled if at all possible. This year DDOT planted about 3,900 street trees citywide.

  • how much is a fully mature, 15 ft tree? are they in the thousands of dollars range?

    • They’re talking about growth at maturity, not at planting. Many, if not most, of the District trees are only about 2″ caliper when planted, or maybe 6-8″ including rootball. But it depends on the variety.

      Prices vary greatly: low at Home Depot (with poor quality) vs. high at a garden center like Johnson’s. Expect to spend up to a couple hundred retail, for better quality.

  • Everything I’ve heard/read has said to plant trees in the fall so that they can establish their root system prior to the immense stress of a hot, dry summer. I expect that if you plant a tree in the spring you need to plan to water it regularly throughout the summer.

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