How to Get a Free Tree Planted on Your Block (Because Who Doesn’t Want a Greener View?)

You really do love your apartment, especially that big front window that looks down on the street below. That said, you wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more greenery any time you take a peek outside. (Especially if your indoor plant adventures have never been much of a success.) Luckily, there is something you can do about the lack of nature in front of your building, and it doesn’t involve heading out there with a trowel and gardening gloves.

New York City’s Park Services department allows anyone to submit a request that it plant a tree in an open lot. For free. And no, you don’t need to own the building or business you’d like a tree placed outside of in order to make the ask. You don’t even need to live in said building—it can just be some place along your daily commute or your favorite walking route that you feel could use some sprucing up (pun very much intended). All you need to do to request a new tree is a desire for more green in the world and five minutes to fill out a form online.

At the moment, New Yorkers can place requests only for spots along the street, including places that are currently paved over with sidewalk. (Parks and private spaces are left to the mercy of the Park Services department.) Once you submit your completed forms, someone from the city will be in touch to keep you informed on the progress of your new tree and when it will be planted—there are two planting seasons: March through May and October through December. You can also check on all upcoming planting plans to see if any of your neighbors had the same idea.

Of course, if you’re feeling so inspired, you can also apply for a tree planting permit of your own, so you can choose exactly which species you want to look at every time you poke your head out the front door. There are many more steps involved in this process, but if you have your heart set on watching the stunning explosion of purple that is a wisteria tree in full bloom, it could be worth the effort.

Abby Hepworth


Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...
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