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Free trees available for yards, sidewalk strips

Seattle reLeaf’s Trees for Neighborhoods program is giving away up to four free trees to Seattle residents, who will also receive free watering bags for each tree, training on proper tree planting and maintenance, and workshops on topics such as tree pruning.

Street tree applications are due by Sept. 1; yard tree applications are due by Oct. 11. Thirteen tree species are available, including Galaxy Magnolia, Tall Stewartia, Emerald Sunshine Elm, Mountain Hemlock, and June Snow Dogwood. See the complete 2013 tree list online.

Planting workshops and tree pick-up will be Oct. 19 or Nov. 3 at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, 98105.

Urban trees are important for cleaning our water and air, storing carbon, and building community. Trees also calm traffic, making our streets friendly to walk and bike. Larger trees provide the greatest benefits to neighborhoods and our environment because they absorb more storm water, breathe in more carbon dioxide, and breathe out more oxygen than smaller trees. If space allows, Seattle reLeaf recommends residents plant larger trees whenever appropriate. This year, consider planting one of the larger trees offered through the program, such as an Oriental Spruce, Austrian Pine, or native Mountain Hemlock!