Free Trees?

I was lead to an article in The Washington Post after reading Claire’s post at Alameda Garden. It concerns free trees that The Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) is giving away to residents to help reduce utility costs.

Where are these trees coming from? I couldn’t find out where Sacramento is getting these trees. Are they coming from their own nursery or are they getting them from private nurseries. I, as a nurseryman trying to make a living am quite interested when I hear of quasi-government agencies giving away something I am trying to sell. Maybe they do get them from private nurseries, it just didn’t say.

The article also say’s part of the problem is “a failure to plant shade trees in new residential and commercial developments.” One of the problems with many new developments is the trees planted are often dwarf or small growing trees, so as to not become too big and a maintenance problem. “Many people just don't like trees because they are dirty," said Buscaino, the former head of the federal urban forest program.”We have a lifestyle where the last thing on people's mind is trimming their trees."

I am all for big trees and shade. I put a premium on a property with shade for the hot summers. I get worried though when utilities, counties, and other government and quasi-government agencies try to help things along with “free” stuff. These organizations don’t do any thing for free. You and I will pay for them through our taxes and utility bill. Why do they have to be free? People won’t plant them otherwise? If you educated people about the benefits of tree planting wouldn’t they see the benefit and be willing to purchase them?