Tree-planting effort takes a different approach this year

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) An annual effort to reforest the region will continue this year, although it may look a little different — and be a little more personal — because of the coronavirus epidemic.

For 20 years, hundreds of people came together each spring to plant tree seedlings by taking part in Reforest the Bluegrass. This year, the city of Lexington is working with community partners to provide trees people can plant at home.

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The need to physically distance ourselves from others this spring hasn’t allowed for a traditional event but has created the opportunity for a different, more personal one. This year’s event is being reshaped into a Reforest the Bluegrass at Home affair.

“Trees benefit the city whether they are planted on public or private property,” said Heather Wilson, LFUCG arborist. “We are grateful that our sponsors supported this year’s program and our efforts to pivot to the at-home model during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Starting Friday, May 8, and running through the end of May, free tree seedlings will be available noon Fridays through Sundays at partner locations around Lexington. Different species are available each weekend.

Fayette County residents can take up to five trees to plant in their yards or a pre-approved park, greenway or water quality lot. Anyone wanting more than five trees should email urbanforestry@lexingtonky.gov instead of taking them from a pickup site to ensure an adequate supply for others.

Participants are asked to report what they planted and where they planted it using a simple, online form. This information will feed into a city-wide tree map.

In addition to the tree giveaways, there will be a live, tree-related lesson for elementary students each Wednesday at 3 p.m. and an Ask-an-Arborist session featuring that week’s trees each Thursday at 3 p.m. on Facebook.

Follow the Lexington Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works at LiveGreenLex to participate. Videos will be made available after the live stream.

Tree Species List

Mother’s Day Weekend, May 8-10

  • serviceberry
  • flowering dogwood
  • fragrant sumac (low growing shrub)
  • redbud
  • sugar maple

Love a Tree Day (May 16), May 15-17

  • serviceberry
  • mockernut hickory
  • shagbark hickory
  • witch hazel
  • buckeye
  • hornbeam

Memorial Day weekend, May 22-25

  • serviceberry
  • American beech
  • sycamore
  • pecan (likely won’t produce nuts)
  • variety of oaks: sawtooth, bur, Shumard, swamp white

Graduation, May 29-31

  • serviceberry
  • river birch
  • tulip poplar
  • Kentucky coffeetree
  • variety of oaks: black, white, Northern red, post

Pickup locations

  • Good Foods Co-op (455 Southland Dr.)
  • John’s Run/Walk Shop (317 S. Ashland Ave.)

More pickup locations will be announced.

Pickups will occur from noon Friday through Sunday, on the weekends of May 8 – 10, May 15 – 17, May 22 – 24 and May 29 – 21

More information on tree lists, pickup locations, planting instructions and tree care information can be found at LexingtonKY.gov/Reforest.