Dallas' popular free tree giveaway is back. Called Branch Out Dallas, it returns in time to coincide with Texas Arbor Day, on Saturday, November 2. Which is actually one day after Texas Arbor Day. Close enough.
A release from the city says that the Branch Out Dallas program was created to increase the overall tree canopy in Dallas by providing residents with a tree for their home, at no cost.
The program was a big hit in 2018. Now, in 2019, the need is especially dire. With the spring storms, the city anticipates a strong need to replace trees in neighborhoods across all districts.
"Trees benefit the environment in so many ways," says Terry Lowery, director of Dallas Water Utilities. "They clean the air, filter stormwater and urban runoff, provide shade, and combat the effects of climate change."
The initiative involved a partnership between 12 city departments, as well as Air North Texas and the Texas A&M Forest Service, to continue the program at no cost to Dallas residents.
You read that correctly: Branch Out Dallas is limited to Dallas residents. A Dallas Water Utility bill or government-issued identification will be required at the time trees are picked up.
They anticipate that 2,500 trees will be distributed, with instructions on how to plant them.
Let's hope that this year, they provide the instructions on a piece of paper and do not place it in a plastic bag. In 2018, they handed out instructions in disposable plastic bags, which would seem to offset whatever environmental benefits that the trees might offer. The plastic bags were pointless; many were seen floating around the pickup areas.
Branch Out Dallas involves a three-step process:
Step 1: Participants can sign up for a free tree by choosing from five Texas hardwood tree species: Shumard oak, Chinquapin oak, Mexican oak, Lacebark elm, or pecan.
Step 2: Participants select from one of six pick-up locations:
- C. A. Tatum Jr. Elementary School
- June Shelton School and Evaluation Center
- Justin F. Kimball High School
- The Village Church – Dallas Northway
- W. H. Adamson High School
- White Rock Church of Christ
From the registration data, the City of Dallas orders the trees.
Step 3: Participants pick up their trees in five-gallon pots at their selected pick-up location on November 2 from 9 am to noon.
Registration for trees can be done online at dallascityhall.com/branchoutdallas. The registration period begins on September 1 and runs through September 30.
Residents can visit any Dallas Public Library location for more information and for assistance in registering online, or they may send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.