Quick History of the “Free Trees” Movement in Denver

If you read the term “Emerald ash borer” quickly, you might think it was a description of some beautiful place in Ireland. But upon closer look, you’ll see it doesn’t say that at all. Emerald ash borer, also known as EAB, is a pest that’s been plaguing ash trees across the United States since 2002. The larvae eat the bark of ash trees preventing them from transporting water and nutrients throughout its system. So far 25 states have been impacted.

While not yet sighted in Denver, Colorado, in 2013 it was seen in Boulder and last summer it arrived in Longmont. So these destructive beetles are getting closer. But the citizens of Denver aren’t going to wait until they come. In a proactive stance against the primary enemy of the ash tree, Denver launched a free trees program. Spearheaded by The Parks People and supported by Be A Smart Ash, the overall mission of the integrated group is to protect or replace the area’s 330,000 ash trees.

Denver Digs Trees

Denver Digs Trees LogoFounded in 1991, the Denver Digs Trees program has provided Denver with more than 49,000 free or low-cost trees. They dispense a mixture of trees to homeowners and residents in Denver. Sizes range from medium and large shade trees. Precise planting instructions are given with each tree, so it stays healthy.

The program provides excellent options for your free trees. You may ask for a street tree or a yard tree. You can even get both. But plant it according to the specifications provided.The requirements must be followed faithfully.

In 2017 all street trees were free. Free yard trees were available to applicants who may not have been able to get a tree otherwise. If finances are not problem, the cost for yard trees is $35 per tree. Fees vary depending on the neighborhood.

Be A Smart Ash

Be a Smart Ash LogoDenver Digs Trees supports a second program called Be A Smart Ash. This effort is designed to educate Denver about EAB. Right now they fear the EAB has already infiltrated, so they want to spot the parasite before it advances too far. EAB takes up to two years to reveal itself, so identifying it as early as possible helps save more trees.

Be A Smart Ash encourages residents to participate in the free tree program facilitated through Denver Digs Trees. Because it offers a variety of trees, Denver hopes to minimize the damage of the EAB through diversifying its urban canopy.

The Park People

The Park People LogoThe Park People sponsor Denver Digs Trees. The Park People is an organization created in 1969 by dedicated park enthusiasts. This non-profit has grown significantly since then.

The Blue Trees Project

This spring, The Blue Trees Project launched in The Denver Theatre District. It did not give away trees. Instead, using a biologically-safe colorant, it colored 150 trees royal blue. Konstantin Dimopoulos was the performance artist and invited the public to help him. Safe for the trees, the color will fade over time. But the bright blue currently serves as a strong reminder to Denver about the importance of trees, their city’s trees, and their free trees program.

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Article brought to you by Tree Removal Denver.

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