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Jacksonville, FL (June 24, 2022) – It is quite often that our office will receive inquiries about what programs exist to allow for residents to request trees to be planted in their neighborhood.  The City of Jacksonville does have such a program, called the “630-CITY Free Tree Planting Program”, which is funded through the Tree Mitigation Fund and free to Duval County residents.  In response to these inquiries, Council Member Danny Becton met with the city’s Chief Arborist, Daniel Gearhart, to get more information about how the program works, how residents can utilize the program, and how the city conducts its survey to confirm trees can be planted along the requested city Right-of-Way area.

The 630-CITY Tree Planting Program is set up by the City of Jacksonville’s Urban Forestry Team in order to use the city’s Tree Mitigation Fund.  The Tree Mitigation Fund is an account utilized by the City of Jacksonville for the sole purpose of planting trees.  When landowners and developers clear land they must obtain a tree removal permit from the city, and those fees received go into the fund.  This mitigation fee is then utilized by the city to plant trees in an attempt to offset the additional environmental stresses from deforestation including air pollution, erosion, storm water runoff, and much more.  In order to maximize the utilization of the fund, the City of Jacksonville’s Urban Forestry Team created the 630-CITY Free Tree Planting Program in order to reinvest this money into reforesting our city with new tree canopy and also allow residents to request trees to be planted free of charge to them.

If a resident is interested in having trees planted, they should first call 630-CITY or fill out an application at COJ.net – Tree Commission.  The tree must be planted in a city Right-of-Way (the area along a city-owned street in front of a home or business) in front of the resident’s or business owner’s own property that is desiring to have the tree planted.  Once the application is submitted, a staff member from the Urban Forestry team will determine if there’s enough room using the following criteria:

  • Overhead utility lines
  • Proximity to existing tree canopy
  • Right-of-way space
  • Street lights
  • Other municipal infrastructure including, drainage ditches, sewers etc.
  • Proximity to intersections and street signs

Trees planted for this program must meet top industry standards for quality, and all trees must be Florida Fancy or No. 1 which is the highest grade of tree nursery stock when selecting trees. Most tree species planted are 3” in caliper.  This means the trunk is 3” in diameter when measure 6” above the rootball. They’re typical between 8’-12’ tall depending on species.  Most trees are balled and burlapped (B&B), meaning the trees are grown in the field and dug out with a tree spade, wrapped in a burlap bag, and hardened off before planting in order to achieve maximum survivability.

For more information on the process, please download the PDF at the bottom of this article, and for any questions related to the 630-CITY Tree Planting Program, please visit the links listed below:

By Joe Johnson, District 11 Executive Council Assistant and CM Danny Becton.