Thanks to the Washington Tree Committee, residents will have the option of receiving one of 130 trees, free of charge, during the annual tree giveaway on Saturday, May 25.
The annual tradition began 29 years ago with the purpose of replanting trees after the Dutch elm disease killed many within city limits. Trees were not readily replanted after the removal of dead trees, prompting the Washington Tree Committee to spring into action. Through donations from organizations such as the Washington Betterment Foundation, they are able to provide free trees to the community.
On Saturday, May 25, at 8 a.m., the Washington Tree Committee will begin giving away a variety of trees at the band stand in central park. Marde McConnell, chairman of the Washington Tree Committee, said people line up as early as 7 a.m. to receive a free tree.
This year, the committee is offering 13 options total. The five smaller varieties of trees are: Nannyberry viburnum, pawpaw, fringetree, golden delicious, Carolina Buckthorn. The five medium varieties are: Norway spruce, sweet birch, river birch, pond cypress, nutgall oak. The three larger varieties are: Baldcypress, tulip tree, pecan/shagbark Hickory Hybrid.
Before planing, McConnell urges people to call Iowa One Call (1-800-292-8989) to ensure there are no underground obstacles. This should be done at least 48 hours before planting the tree.
The trees will all be containerized and will be given away on a first-come first-served basis. McConnell said she hopes to see a large turnout for the trees and encourages people to come out and get one
“We hope that people understand that a tree, while it does provide shade, has other reasons it’s important,” she said, explaining that planting new trees to replace those cut down because of the emerald ash borer will help the habitat.
Details about the trees available can be found at The Journal, The Washington Chamber of Commerce, Washington City Hall, The Washington Public Library and KCII.