City officials in Denton are helping its residents make the area a little greener.
Denton hosted its 25th annual Community Tree Giveaway on October 21, putting 700 trees up for grabs. This drive-thru event is the city’s “largest and longest-running tree giveaway.”
Locals lined up at the city’s landfill at 1527 S. Mayhill Rd. at their allotted time to pick up a native or adapted Texas tree, with a limit of one per household. They were required to register beforehand, providing proof of residency and an account with Denton’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Each tree given away was already between 3 to 8 feet tall but still capable of being transported by car or truck.
Denton officials described the presence of trees as “vital” to the local community and explained that the annual initiative has wide-ranging benefits. These include encouraging residents to do more outdoor activities, boosting property values, beautifying the surrounding area, lowering energy consumption, and more.
Autumn Natalie, program and events manager at Denton Parks & Recreation, told KERA that residents have supported the program since its creation.
Moreover, she stressed that the initiative was important due to the steady decrease in the number of Texas trees.
“We recognize that a lot of our native forests are disappearing,” said Natalie. “So, we want to make sure that we don’t lose those trees as well. So we offer those trees to our residents.”
This year’s giveaway involved trees of varying species, such as Autumn Blaze, Mexican Plum, Texas Redbud, Cedar Elm, Nellie R. Stevens Holly, and Shumard Oak. Each had been carefully selected for its ability to survive in the local environment.
“Most of the trees selected for the event are large, hardwood shade trees. They have a longer lifespan, which means they grow more slowly,” reads a flyer for the event. “Usually, the slower a tree grows, the longer it lives.”
Natalie explained that since the giveaway was “first come, first served,” it was clear that the Texas Redbuds were a resident favorite. These vase-shaped deciduous trees were gone within about eight minutes.
She also noted how the giveaway has grown in popularity over the years.
“Everyone here recognizes that we are doing a community good,” she said. “There’s a benefit to giving trees away and planting trees in their community.”