For the sixth year, the city of Pittsburgh, along with the Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission, is giving away free trees for Earth Day.
“We give away approximately 1,000 native seedlings,” said city forester Lisa Ceoffe. “This is a way to get folks in tune with spring, get a tree with their hand, and we have a lot of information going on this whole week as far as Earth Day, Arbor Day and the city celebrates Tree City USA.”
Arbor Day is Friday, and Pittsburgh has a Tree City USA status. That’s a program sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation that recognizes a city’s commitment to care for and maintain its. This year, the city is giving away native Dogwood trees.
“It’s a tree that you see naturally growing in the Pennsylvania forest,” said Ceoffe, “they don’t get very large, they have a small, white flower on them. Full-blown they’re sort of an understory tree, so they grow under the larger trees in the forest, so they don’t really get that big.”
The ones the city is giving away are seedlings that can be carried away.
“We’re not quite sure how many of the trees take because they are just small seedlings,” said Ceoffe. “It’s pretty funny, in years past people pull up with pickup trucks thinking we’re giving them these huge trees. If you nurture these trees they can grow into full-blown trees.”
Information on how to care for the seedlings will be included. Ceoffe said efforts such as this are important as the city tries to increase its tree canopy.
“Trees help with the heat island effect, they help areas become cooler, shadier, they help with energy conservation, they’re just great for the environment for, you know, storm water capacity,” she said.
Anyone can show up at the City County Building portico starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday to get their tree seedling.