Covington Offering Free Trees to Those Who Want Them
The City of Covington is giving away free trees thanks to an Arbor Day initiative by ROAD iD, a Covington-based company that makes wearable identification materials.
"It's first come, first served, and the trees will go fast," said Cassandra Homan, the city's urban forester.
Covington residents who want a tree (and have the means to plant it) should email Homan at [email protected]
- Name and address.
- Phone number.
- Email address.
- An answer to this question: "Why are trees important to you?"
- The name of the species of tree they want, from the three available.
Homan said residents should select the tree that best fits the space where they will plant it.
- Eastern redbud (designed for small places) -- will get roughly 15 feet tall and features brilliant magenta pink flowers (in the spring) and a short, often twisted trunk.
- Sassafras (for medium places) - will get roughly 50 feet tall and is known for its dark red-brown bark (when mature), the three distinct shapes of its leaves (often on the same branch), and the aromatic scent of its shoots, twigs, and roots.
- Tulip (for large places) - can get 80 to 100 feet tall and is known for its distinctive leaves, large springtime flowers and tall, straight trunk.
Depending on how many of each tree is selected, Homan said the city expects to be able to give away 16 to 25 trees using ROAD iD's $2,200 donation.
"We're excited at the chance to contribute to Covington's lovely urban forest," said ROAD iD's Kara Foxx, who worked with the City to set up the program so it would have the biggest impact. The company makes premier safety identification tags and bracelets for runners, bicyclists, people with medical conditions and others.
Homan, whose official title with the Public Works' Department's Forestry Division is municipal specialist, said the program was significant for two reasons:
One, the size of the trees - in 15-gallon to 25-gallon containers - made them more likely to survive and to reach maturity faster. That's why the City decided to buy fewer, larger trees instead of an array of tiny, bare-root seedlings. "These are quality trees," Homan said.
And two, they will be planted on private land.
"On average, 80 percent of property in cities is private, so if we're going to meaningfully grow Covington's urban canopy, we can't just plant along sidewalks and other public right-of-way areas," she said. "This was awesome of Road iD ... and we certainly wouldn't say 'no' if other businesses stepped up and mimicked their generosity."
The city will have the trees delivered and can give advice on where to plant. In general, plant taller trees away from utility lines, and planting on the south side of a house will help cool it in the summer and warm it in the winter.