Free Trees for Multifamily, Commerical, and Industrial Properties

Information
Photo shows newly planted trees along the front of a one-level business building.
If you own multifamily, industrial, or commercial property in a neighborhood east of 82nd Avenue or north of Killingsworth Street, we would like to work with you to grow the tree canopy in your neighborhood. Find answers to many commonly asked questions on this page.
On this page

I received a letter. Do I have to plant?

No. If you are not interested in planting a trees, no further action is required.

I was told before I do not have space for trees. Why are you sending me another letter?

In previous years we offered street trees only. We are now offering tree planting on private property. If you have room for trees on the property, we welcome you to sign up with us now.

I do not own the property. Can I participate in the program?

Yes, with the property owner's permission. Because the long-term care and maintenance of all trees rests with the property owner, it is vital that all trees planted have permission from the property owner. If you are not the owner or a designated representative of the property (such as a property manager) but are interested in planting trees, let your property owner know. The owner should have received a letter outlining the program as well. If you provide us with contact information, we can also reach out to your landlord or property owner on your behalf.

I own the property but reside outside the Portland-metro area. Can I appoint someone else as the primary contact?

Yes. Because the long-term care and maintenance of all trees rests with the property owner, it is vital that all trees planted have permission from the property owner. However, many commercial and multifamily property owners appoint a property manager, facilities manager, or tenant to be the primary contact. At sign-up please provide information for both the property owner and the primary contact, if they are different.

What kind of tree will I receive?

A number of factors determine the tree you receive, including the available space and your preferences. We prioritize native and evergreen trees, urban tolerant trees, and trees better suited to future climate conditions. Our goal is to plant the largest tree appropriate for the space. This will maximize the environmental benefits that accrue over the life of the tree without causing damage to your property or business. Program staff will work with you to choose trees that both meet our watershed health goals and your site-specific needs and interests.  

All trees planted by Environmental Services must meet strict quality standards. Following planting, our staff will inspect your tree to make sure it was planted to specification and is of quality stock. Our goal is to plant a tree that will not only survive, but thrive.

Many people ask about the size of the mature trees. The following is not an exhaustive list of what we plant, but provides examples of the types of trees and mature sizes. Please note that we do not plant arborvitae hedge rows.

Large Tree Examples

These trees mature at more than 50 feet tall and between 25-50+ feet wide. These trees make excellent shade trees and support mature canopies that leave room for business signs underneath.

Medium-sized Tree Examples

These trees mature between 30-50 feet tall and 10-35 feet wide. They help to increase the diversity of tree species in Portland and are suitable when larger spaces are not available for tree planting.

Small-form Tree and Arborescent Shrub Examples

These trees mature between 15-30 feet tall and 10-25 feet wide. They are suitable for smaller planting spaces.

Where will the tree be planted?

On private property. Our staff will work with you to determine potential planting locations that best suit your needs and interests. We can plant in existing landscape areas, or create new planting areas by removing asphalt or cement, such as in underutilized parking lots.

After you sign up, a staff person will visit your property and work with you to put together a proposed planting plan. Planting will only proceed with approval from the property owner after review of the proposed plan by the date listed in the Welcome to Our Partnership letter. We do recommend involving your tenant(s) in a discussion about trees once locations are marked. Some tenants may have concerns about tree locations based on their use of the property.

Who will take care of the trees?

The long-term care and maintenance of all trees is the responsibility of the property owner. Environmental Services offers a partnership in tree planting. We will assess the property for appropriate planting locations and purchase, transport, and plant trees for you. We inspect the trees to ensure they were planted correctly, and we will monitor the condition of all trees for the first four growing seasons (the “establishment period”). As the tree grows, we recommend consulting a certified arborist for pruning needs and long-term care.

During the establishment period, our contractors will water the tree, add mulch, fix stakes, and provide pruning services as needed. The transplant process is stressful, and some trees may decline after planting. Most trees improve over time. If during the first four years you believe your tree has died, please contact us at 503-823-2255 or email itreepdx@portlandoregon.gov.

Will the tree need water?

Yes. Newly planted trees need deep watering during dry periods (generally May to October) for their first few years. Before this time, the roots are not established enough to support the tree. Environmental Services' contractors will water the tree for the first four growing seasons following planting. You should not water the tree during this time.

Will the tree need to be pruned?

Pruning a young tree by a professional arborist is important for the long-term health and structural integrity of a tree. However, pruning too soon after planting can create additional stress that may lead to decline. Our contractors will provide pruning services as needed during the establishment period. As the tree grows, we recommend consulting a certified arborist for pruning needs and long-term care.

What can I do to care for my tree during the first four years?

Good stewardship of a tree starts from day one. Our contractor will cover the basic establishment care during the first four years after planting. This includes watering. So property owners will not need to water, prune, mulch the new trees during that time. However, you can help your new tree(s) thrive by:

  • Telling your staff/tenants that new trees will be planted and watered by Environmental Services. Extra eyes on trees can help deter damage.
  • Being careful not to damage the trunk with string trimmers, car doors, bicycles, etc. If your landscape is maintained by a professional service, please let them know that the new trees are being established by Environmental Services and ask them not to water or prune them for the first four years.
  • Removing garbage, weeds, and pet waste from around trees.
  • Calling 503-832-2255 or email itreepdx@portlandoregon.gov with questions or concerns.

What happens if tree roots damage a paved surface?

It is the responsibility of the property owner to fix damage from tree roots. While we cannot guarantee a tree will never cause damage, we prioritize trees that provide maximum benefits in a given area while minimizing the potential for damage. We also water trees deeply during the first four summers to encourage deeper rooting to help prevent damage to paved surfaces. Talk with the Environmental Services' staff member who works with you on the planting plan if this is a concern. Tree size is not the only factor to consider if infrastructure damage is a concern.

Root pruning may also reduce the likelihood of damage to paved surfaces. Learn more about root pruning.

Where can I get more information?

If you don’t see the answer to your question here, please contact us at 503-823-2255 or itreepdx@portlandoregon.gov for more information.