Sunday, July 25, 2010

County's Adopt-a-Tree program is a blooming success

Crowds come and go at the tree give-away
This tree give-away program rocks! And kudos to Miami-Dade's Department of Environmental Resource Management for setting it up some 10-plus years ago. It's given away hundreds of thousands of shade trees -- flowering, fruit, natives -- to home owners who are entitled to up to two trees per year.

It started after a survey indicated that Dade's tree canopy was a horribly low 10 percent. And then the citrus canker fiasco began and some half million backyard citrus trees were cut down by the state in order to protect the commercial citrus industry. Fail.

So DERM applied for canopy restoration grants, and the rest is history.



After we complete the paperwork, we stand in line in the hot, hot sun, waiting our turn. (I've done this enough times to be prepared with hat and long sleeves.)


We watch the trees being unloaded from one of the huge tractor trailers, which collect the trees from local nurseries contracted to grow them for the county. (The program is a boon to nurseries, too.)


Finally! It's my turn. But I arrived late for today's event (one of four, this year). By the time I got to the head of the line, only pigeon plum (Coccoloba diversifolia) was left, which is way too big for my yard. I sneaked back around to the education center where, hooray, there were three native Dahoon holllies (Ilex cassine)  -- the trees I had wanted -- on display. Dahoon holly is dioecious and I managed to get the only female, showing small green berries. So, I came away a happy camper. I will claim another tree at the next event.


And here's my holly, home and waiting to go in the ground.

10 comments:

MrBrownThumb said...

This is an awesome program and congrats on getting the tree you wanted.

Penny McCrea said...

Thanks, MBT. The program should be copied nationwide, IMHO.

Rainforest Gardener said...

Dahoon holly is a great native tree, and does well in my periodically flooded backyard! Its one of my favorites and has those nice red berries when everything else is dying from a freeze.

Penny McCrea said...

Hi, Steve. Mine is going in a damp place, too. I hope there are some male trees around so I get more berries at Christmas. :)

James Missier said...

Citrus trees cut down to protect the citrus industry?
Very strange - can this happen??

Penny McCrea said...

Good question, James. It was a disaster. Briefly, citrus is one of the biggest industries in Florida, mostly in the center of the state. Down here in South Florida, where thousands and thousands of people had citrus trees in their backyards, citrus canker, a disease that makes the fruit look bad, but doesn't affect the taste, got introduced. In its infinite wisdom, the state cut down the majority of homeowners' trees, but the disease still spread to the commercial groves. After many lawsuits and a huge amount of bad publicity, the state gave in, paid out $50 for each removed tree and now lets us grow citrus again!

NanaK said...

What a great program. I haven't heard of anything like that in my area. You got a great native tree.

Penny McCrea said...

Thanks, Nana. I really have no room left for trees, but if I can get a few of the smaller natives in, I will do so. Anything to bring in more birds and butterflies. :)

Susan said...

This would be a great program for every city or county. I'm always surprised that people don't plant more trees...just for shade, if for no other reason. Enjoy your new tree!

Terra Mirabilis said...

Thanks, Susan. I still haven't got it in the ground. Maybe later today ...