Thursday, April 23, 2015

Free Trees for Common Grounds

Forest ReLeaf of Missouri is a small nonprofit organization that has been giving away trees for the past twenty years - nearly 150,000 to date!  With a mission to restore our urban forests, this dedicated group has made a huge impact on the area. Their trees are everywhere from schools and churches to Forest Park and out in Joplin. In fact, they just received a national award from the Arbor Day Foundation for their Excellence in Urban Forest Leadership.

Trees are available to groups for planting through two different programs with the provision they must be planted on public or nonprofit land.  For neighborhood associations and subdivisions, common grounds also qualify.  The first program, Project ReLeaf, provides balled and burlapped trees, typically 5-12’ tall, which are sold at a greatly reduced price. These trees must be ordered in advance and can be done so by going to the Project ReLeaf link on their website. This will also connect you to the Tree Catalog so you can see the species selection.  The deadline for ordering trees will be sometime in March but is yet to be determined given the recent unusual weather. 

The second program, which provides free trees, is Project CommuniTree.  These are 3-gallon trees, typically 4-6’ in height, distributed on a first-come first-served basis. Applications are required and can be printed and faxed or mailed in. 

Forest ReLeaf grows about 20,000 trees at their CommuniTree Gardens Nursery in Creve Coeur Park which is also the pickup site for trees. The work to grow and maintain these trees is done largely by volunteers. 

Each spring, groups, families and individuals volunteer at the nursery and pot up thousands of seedlings that will be distributed back out to the region. People from age 6 to 86 come to help out and find that this is a great way to have fun and give back to the community. Forest ReLeaf also gives frequent classes and lectures including their free, 7 week TreeKeepers class. 

To learn more about these programs, available species, deadlines and other opportunities within Forest ReLeaf, visit their website at  To make sure you receive notification of deadlines and the latest developments, email info@moreleaf.orgto have them add your name to their email list.

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