NOW is your chance to get a tree or trees for your yard. A City of Seattle lottery, closing August 8, is offering up to four trees per property, To apply go to the Trees for Neighborhoods website to fill out the application and then wait to see if you are a lucky winner.
You can request up to four different trees or four of one kind. The pictures show four of the 13 trees that are available.
You can read all about them and see more pictures from a link at the webpage (2022 tree options). Be careful to note if you are planting in your yard, in the planting strip or under a power line. Different trees work best in different circumstances.
Winners will need to watch a webinar and attend an in-person class at the Center for Urban Horticulture (just east of the UW Montlake parking lots) in October (two possible dates) when picking up the trees. If you are planting in the planting strip it is necessary to get a permit, but the City will do most of that for you. If a tree in your planting strip has died or become an unruly nuisance and you want to replace it, you must put that in the note space at the bottom of the application. If you need help getting the tree planted, the City will try to find volunteers helpers.
An alternative if you don’t win the lottery is buying trees from a local nursery. Some neighbors in Wallingford got together to plant a row of the same trees along their street front, as you can see in the picture. Once those trees are mature, it is going to be magnificent! Marilyn, who helped get the four neighbors organized, said the Ginkgoes they planted cost them about $130 each. With everyone pitching in, preparing the planting holes and getting the trees in place was more a block party than a chore. (In some places in the neighborhood the hard pan can be a foot or so below the surface. If that happens to you, be prepared to swing a mean pick axe to break through – or go rent an electric jack hammer.)
Don’t neglect extra care for the newly planted trees. On these hot summer days they need plenty of water. Here is a picture of two trees that were required to be planted as a part of a townhouse development that have been forgotten by the developer and all six families in the development. They desperately need water. The easiest way to do that is with a watering bag, like the one shown in the picture on the right. (This tree was put into the ground by a group of Wallingford neighbors this last spring.) It should drip the water into the ground for three to five days before it needs to be refilled. After about three years the roots will spread out and you’ll need to remove it and water farther from the base.
After taking away the watering bag, be careful not to get too close to the tree with a fishing line-style grass trimmer. You can whack the base of the tree and severely damage the outer layers of the bark and the water transport layer just under the bark. The picture shows a tree that has been damaged by careless lawn care, which may severely restrict the growth, or even survival, of the tree. There are plastic tube guards you can pick up at a hardware store you can put around the base to protect the tree.