Thursday, October 02, 2014

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Tree Giveaway Aims to Expand City's Green Reach

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The non-profit New York Restoration Project is giving away more than 12,000 free trees over the coming months and are urging New Yorkers to give their green thumbs a shot.

Anyone with the space and permission to plant can take away a tree sapling free of charge.

The trees are small enough to be taken in a cab or on the subway, and organizers hope to see them reach far and wide.

"We want homeowners to come out and plant it in their front and backyards. You can also take it and plant it at a church or community center or community garden. As long as you got permission to plant then you can take one of these trees," said NYRP Tree Giveaway Director Mike Duran-Mitchell.

The New York Restoration Project is giving away the trees at 90 events this spring with help from sponsors like TD Bank, Toyota and Jet Blue. It's part of the Million Trees NYC initiative, which kicked off in 2007.

NYRP have partnered with the Parks Department to plant and care for one million new trees in town by 2015. So far, 830,000 have been planted, providing shade and naturally cleaning the air and stormwater.

NYRP staff were on site at Sherman Creek Park in Inwood early Monday making sure the planting process went smoothly.

"You want to look at the conditions of the tree. Does it need a sunny spot, a shady spot, want to make sure it has some room to grow to its maximum height. All of that information will be on the tag," said NYRP Campus Regional Director Jason Smith.

Once the tree is placed in its hole, there is a proper way to put the soil back in.

"You want to have the soil filled in nicely, no air pockets, but it doesn't want to be in compacted soil. Ideally a tree is in soil that's fairly loose and it can grow its roots into," Smith added.

This week may not be the best for planting because of the lingering cold, but prime time is just a few weeks away.

"It should be relatively easy to keep these trees alive. They come fully-loaded with fertilizer from the nursery so they have a lot of energy, they are ready to go, and really all they need is a lot, a lot of water during the summer," Duran-Mitchell said.

For more information on how to get your own, visit nyrp.org.

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