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Planning Department to Provide Free Trees

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is offering free trees to qualifying property owners in Montgomery County’s urban districts. The Shades of Green program, which was launched in 2012 as a pilot program, is now expanding to all urban road code areas of the County in an effort to enhance the tree canopy cover within the most impervious areas of the county.

The Shades of Green program is now offering free trees in the following urban road code areas: Germantown Center, Clarksburg Town Center, and Damascus Town Center.

The Shades of Green program is financed through the Forest Conservation Fund, made up of contributions paid during the development process as compensation for tree loss. These fees are paid by developers when tree planting on their development sites is impractical.

The expanded Shades of Green program is available to property owners who live within the qualifying boundaries of the urban centers identified below. Residents in these area are invited to participate in the program and receive free trees by filling out a form at www.montgomeryplanning.org/shadesofgreen. To determine if a property is located within the eligible locations, click on this link: http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/environment/shades_of_green.shtm

To better understand Montgomery County’s existing tree canopy cover, County planners analyzed the layer of leaves and branches that cover the ground when viewed from above. High-resolution aerial imagery revealed much lower tree canopy levels in urban areas than in more suburban neighborhoods.

The Shades of Green program aims to improve the overall tree canopy cover in these urban districts to provide benefits, such as:

-Beautify urban districts.

-Reduce street temperatures.

-Cool buildings, thereby reducing energy demand.

-Support the local economy.

-Improve street ambiance and quality of place.

-Enhance water, air and habitat quality.

-Reduce greenhouse gases.

-Reduce urban heat island effect.