Shades of Green: Free Trees Program

tree11The Montgomery County Planning Department is offering free trees to qualifying property owners in certain urban districts of Montgomery County. The Shades of Green program, which was launched in 2012 as a pilot program, is now expanding to some additional areas of the county that have a high level of impervious surface in an effort to enhance the tree canopy cover.

The Shades of Green program provides free trees to qualifying property owners. The program is financed through the Forest Conservation Fund, which primarily includes contributions paid into the fund by developers when tree planting on their own development sites is impractical.

The expanded program includes property owners who live within the qualifying urban centers identified below. They are invited to participate in the program to receive free trees by filling out a form at: To see if you are eligible for free trees, please click on this link:

The Shades of Green program will now be offered in these areas:
-Germantown Center
-Shady Grove
-Olney Center

The program has already been active since 2012 for the following areas:
-Silver Spring CBD
-Montgomery Hills
-Wheaton CBD
-Flower/Piney Branch Urban District
-Bethesda CBD
-Friendship Heights Urban District
-Westbard Urban District

To better understand Montgomery County’s tree 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. Increasing the number of trees in more urban areas will increase the tree canopy cover resulting in numerous benefits.

More trees will help to:
-beautify urban districts
-reduce street temperatures
-cool buildings, thereby reducing energy demands
-support the local economy
-improve street ambiance and quality of place
-enhance water, air and habitat quality
-reduce greenhouse gas, and
-reduce the “heat island effect”

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