Free Trees For Rhody Residents

Registration starts today for the RIDEM Energy-Savings Trees program. [Note: They are already out of trees.]

This season, participants in the program will have the option to reserve one tree that can be picked up at one of four tree pickup events as well as one tree that will be mailed directly to their home. Species for in-person pickup will include paw paw, tree lilac, Kousa dogwood, Princeton elm, bald cypress, and tulip tree.

Trees species for direct mailing include white flowering dogwood, eastern redbud, river birch, pin oak, sycamore, sugar maple, and black cherry. The process to reserve your free tree only takes a few minutes.

Seen here is a Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa). The true flowers are inconspicuous but are surrounded by creamy white bracts which bloom in early June. Small in stature, with lovely red fruit and a natural vase-shaped habit, this under-story tree is not amenable to sheering into formal boxes and balls.

Select the correct tree and put away those tools. There is help on the website for selecting the best tree for your property. (The flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is on the above list, but they are susceptible to several diseases. One can see them struggling everywhere; there are better choices for your yard.) That Princeton elm has been selected for its resistance to Dutch elm disease; let’s get some of those going.

Whatever you decide, don’t dawdle; these trees go fast. You must preregister.

The trees for in-person pickup will be about four to six feet tall each and are in three-gallon containers. These trees fit in most cars for transportation to your home. Trees that are mailed directly to participants’ homes will be smaller and arrive in 1-gal containers.

There are four pick-up locations, all out of town. Tree registration starts Friday, April 12.


Photographed on Blackstone Boulevard, this Kousa blooms simultaneously with a lovely mountain laurel, cultivar unknown.

The Kousa fruit is edible. Go here for more info:

Select Kousa Dogwood berries that are bright red and feel soft to the touch. The fruits should be slightly squishy, which signifies that the flesh has converted most of its starch into sugars for a sweeter eating experience. Ripe Kousa Dogwood berries are consumed for their flesh, discarding the skin and seeds. The flesh has a sweet, tropical, and earthy taste with a unique blend of pumpkin, mango, and persimmon-like nuances.

Kousa berries are a type of drupe.



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