Gardening for Health

A black Tupelo tree with a red maple in the background.

Free Trees in Annapolis

By Maria Price

What could be better than free trees? The City of Annapolis is giving away free trees to residents. The program is called the Community Canopy Program and is available to residents within the city limits.

Mayor Gavin Buckley said, “We all need to do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint. The free tree program is a great way to do that and to get the entire community involved in the greening of Annapolis.”

This program is a partnership between the city of Annapolis and the Arbor Day Foundation. The goal of the program is to increase the urban tree canopy which benefits residents by capturing carbon, catching storm water runoff, then reducing energy consumption and utility bills through the proper placement of trees and also beautify property values. Households may request up to four trees from the custom web portal ( The trees will be shipped directly to you and include black Tupelo, eastern redbud, northern red oak, red maple and American sycamore. All are appropriate for Zone 7, which includes Annapolis.

Before taking advantage of the program, you should consider what size tree will fit in the spot you want to plant. Will the tree interfere with any utility lines? Make sure to check for underground utility lines (Miss Utility 800-257-7777). What will the trees need? Full sun, filtered sun or shade?

The following are some basic attributes of the trees being offered in the program.

Black Tupelo is coming into its extraordinary beauty now with its brilliant fall colors of bright yellow, orange, red, purple and scarlet. The summer foliage is a glossy green and the bark matures to medium gray. The fruits are bluish black and loved by many birds. It grows 30 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 30 feet wide. It likes well-drained acidic soil in full sun to part shade.

Eastern redbuds are beautiful in the spring with rosy pink flowers that are edible. It is a leguminous plant that causes nitrogen fixation. It has reddish-purple heart-shaped leaves that become dark green. It grows 20 to 30 feet tall and spreads to 30 feet. It likes partial shade and full sun to light shade.

Northern red oak has bristle-tipped leaves but turns red in the fall. It grows to a stately 60 to 75 feet tall with a 45-foot spread. It tolerates pollution and compacted soil, which makes it a good street tree.

Red maple brings brilliant color to your landscape especially in the fall with deep red and yellows. It grows 40 to 60 feet tall with a 40-foot spread. It’s fast growing and tolerates many soils.

American sycamore is a handsome tree that grows a massive trunk and sloughs off plates leaving a smooth white inner bark that seems to glow against other trees. It makes globular fruit and grows 36 to 75 feet tall. It grows in part shade, sun or shade.