You can ask the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to plant a tree, free-of-charge, on the sidewalk in front of a home, apartment building, or business. Officials will inspect the location and schedule it for planting if it is appropriate for a tree.
The schedule for planting a tree depends upon the availability of trees, the number of pending requests, and the length of the tree planting season. Trees are planted in the spring and fall. It may take longer than one planting season to fulfill a request.
You can request a particular tree species, but the Parks Forester in charge of the planting will determine the final species. Their primary goal is to select a tree that will grow safely and provide the greatest benefits to a neighborhood.
Learn more about street tree planting, including requirements for new buildings.
Tree Inspection and Planting Seasons
Because of high demand, it may take up to 2 years for DPR to inspect the location and determine whether the site is suitable for a new tree. After the agency approves the location for planting, they will add it to a list to be planted in the next planting season. It may take longer than one planting season to fulfill a request.
DPR plants street trees during the spring and fall seasons. The spring tree planting season lasts from March 15 to June 30. The fall tree planting season lasts from October 15 to January 31.
Tree Planting Locations
Requests can be made for existing empty tree beds and for new sidewalk locations that have not previously contained a tree. In some cases, DPR cannot plant a tree at a site because of underground infrastructure issues, or because it is too close to an intersection, streetlight, fire hydrant, building entrance, existing tree canopy, or overhead wires.
The previous existence of a street tree at a location does not guarantee that the site can be replanted.
City zoning laws require the planting of trees along the curb following the construction of new buildings and certain types of alterations citywide.
The City provides tree guards for new street trees under very limited circumstances. Property owners are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the guards, unless they have been installed by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).
If you are a property owner and want a tree guard around a City tree, you can make a donation toward guard installation to the NYC Parks Tree Time, which is a fund managed by DPR. You can make the tax-deductible donation by calling (718) 361-8101 or emailing TreeTime@parks.nyc.gov.
You can also apply for a Tree Work Permit and, after DPR approval, hire a private contractor to install a tree guard or construct a tree guard on your own which complies with DPR standards.
For more information about the tree guard permitting process, send an email to Central.Forestry@parks.nyc.gov.