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RiverSmart Homes - Shade Tree Planting

Have trees planted on your property for just $50 per tree!

Through a special offer from the RiverSmart Homes program, District homeowners can have shade trees planted on their property for only $50 per tree. There is not a limit to the number of trees that can be planted on each property, provided space allows.

What types of trees are available?

Tree species were chosen for their environmental benefit. Available trees are as follows:


  • Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)
  • Black gum/Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
  • Honey Locust   (Gleditsia tricanthos)


  • American Holly (Ilex opaca )
  • Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
  • Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara)


  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
  • Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipfera)
  • Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
  • White Oak (Quercus alba) *
  • Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)
  • Red oak (Quercus rubra)*
  • American Basswood (Tilia Americana)
  • Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)

* Spring Planting Only

What if I do not want a tree from the list of selected trees?

If a homeowner decides to plant a tree that is not included on the RiverSmart Homes list of approved trees, they may choose to apply for the Casey Trees tree rebate. There are 46 native species noted for their large canopy and significant environmental benefits that qualify for rebates up to $100 per tree. Small and medium canopy trees are eligible for rebates up to $50 per tree. Invasive tree species, including Norway Maple, Tree of Heave, Mimosa, Bradford Pear, Sawtooth Oak, Siberian Elm, and the Ash tree should not be planted and do not qualify for the rebate.

Will the RiverSmart Homes program plant street trees?

No, the RiverSmart Homes program plants trees on residential properties only. To request a street tree, please call the Mayor's call center at 311 and submit a request with Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) "

What are shade trees?

Shade trees are large trees with widespread, dense canopies. A shade tree is taller than 25 feet at maturity.

Commonly planted shade trees in the District include oaks, maples, ashes and elms. Shade trees are an investment in the environment, your home's future and future generations.

Why trees?

Trees are an important method for controlling stormwater runoff. The leaves of trees are like cups and can hold up to one-tenth of an inch of stormwater. This captured rain water is critical since a rain of only a half an inch can cause sewer overflows. In addition to stormwater control, trees provide many additional benefits.

Benefits of shade trees to homeowners

Shade trees require minimal maintenance and provide many advantages for the homeowner. Specifically, shade trees:

  • Decrease heating bills up to 15 percent and cooling bills up to 50 percent.
  • Increase property value 10-20 percent.
  • Improve health by reducing stress, asthma and sun-causing skin cancer.
  • Reduce crime; a 2001 study showed apartment buildings with trees and vegetation, had more than 50 percent fewer total crimes than non-landscaped building.
  • Provide privacy by muffling the sound from traffic, lawn mowers, and loud neighbors

Benefits of shade trees to the District

The District is promoting shade trees because they improve the health of local streams and waterways by reducing stormwater runoff and erosion.

Trees also:

  • Improve air quality by removing small pollutant particulates (i.e. sulfur dioxide, ozone, etc.)
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by taking up carbon dioxide
  • Create habitat for plants and animals
  • Mitigate the urban heat-island effect by shading our homes and streets. Urban and suburban temperatures are 2 to 10F (1 to 6C) hotter than nearby rural areas.

How to plant a shade tree

There are a few things to consider when looking to plant a shade tree in your yard. For instance, the location of utility wires (both above and buried) and the distance from objects such as your house, sidewalk, fence and other trees, must be taken into account. It is also smart to consider the amount of sun in your yard when planting a tree.

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