There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as a free tree. Just ask Dave Hutchison, chairman of the Oneonta Environmental Board.
According to Hutchison, the board is eager to give away trees to city residents for planting on front lawns throughout the city. The initiative advances efforts the city has already undertaken to plant more street trees on medians between sidewalks and streets. But to get even more trees out there, the city is expanding its reach to include private property.
“As surprising as it may seem, most folks have denied the city a chance to plant a free tree on their property,” Hutchison wrote in a letter to The Daily Star. “Consequently, ‘trees or no trees,’ this is the question.”
Through the program, homeowners that are deemed to have a suitable site for planting will receive a free tree from the city. Sites away from overhead wires and gas and water lines are preferred, Hutchison explained.
The trees that are being planted depend on the site available and may include American elm, flowering pear, redbud, littleleaf linden, shadblow, crabapple, tree lilac, northern red oak, katsura and locust. According to Hutchison, these species will mature in 20 to 40 years, and upkeep will be minimal until maturity.
“If you are offered a free tree by the city, we hope you will agree that the benefits of the tree (increased beauty and property value, shade in the warm summer months, reduction in carbon dioxide and production of oxygen) will override your fear of raking leaves in the fall,” Hutchison wrote.
To find out more or to request a free tree, write to City Clerk, City Hall, 258 Main St., Oneonta, NY 13820 or call Hutchison at 433-2236 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Messages should include the caller’s name, address and phone number.