Grit City Trees

Grit City Trees – Beautifying Tacoma with free trees

As a new home owner in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma, while bringing back a yard from the brink on a limited budget in as an environmentally friendly was as possible, I was thrilled to discover a program the Tacoma Urban Forestry offers – FREE street trees to qualified Tacoma residents to plant in their right-of-ways for Fall 2019. 

Tacoma has a goal of achieving a 30% tree canopy cover by 2030. As a part of Tacoma’s Environmental Action Plan, (according to their website at this link) the City of Tacoma is continuing the Grit City Tree program to encourage tree plantings in Tacoma neighborhoods. 

“Adding more trees to neighborhoods is proven to help with cooling, reduce stormwater runoff, act as noise barriers, fight climate change, and data shows that tree lined streets are safer.Residences, schools, and other private properties offer a vital opportunity to cultivate a healthy urban forest in the City of Tacoma”.

While not required, the city encourages homeowners to talk with neighbors and community about Grit City Trees and to organize group plantings.

I was so excited with this discovery, I submitted my application without completing it in the requested detail (included a plot map). The Grit City Tree representative responded to multiple e-mail requests I submitted and assisted me in finishing the application electronically. They can also be submitted via mail or fax, I used e-mail for the sheer convenience.

We are planting a raised bed garden in the two parking strips in front of our home soon in with the help of the Food is Free Tacoma project and hope to incorporate two trees from this fabulous project.

I will be sure to update readers with the rest of the process as our application was recently submitted and not yet fully approved, although I certainly hope we are.

Adding trees to your property only improves it. For you, Your family, The city, The environment. And for free? Why wouldn’t you apply?

or questions about the application, please contact Tacoma Urban Forestry at or (253) 502-2138 prior to the application deadline.If you would like a neighborhood application and would benefit from support, contact Tacoma Tree Foundation at

Timeline and Deadlines 

May 2019

  • Applications are available online.

August – September 2019

  • Completed individual applications are due August 13.
  • Completed group applications are due September 6.
  • Applications received after these dates may be placed on a wait list before consideration.

September 2019

  • The City of Tacoma reviews applications.
  • Confirmations will be sent to property owners with tree distribution details.

October 2019

  • Trees will be available at the City of Tacoma tree nursery for pick-up by approved individual applicants to be planted in their right-of-way.
  • Tree delivery to approved neighborhood groups is available courtesy of Washington Conservation Corps.

Need Planting Assistance?

The Pierce Conservation District can, on a case-by-case basis, offer delivery and planting help to participants who need physical assistance or lack access to a vehicle. To inquire about this service, please call (253) 845-9770 Ext. 109 or email


  • Grit City Trees are available to Tacoma residents only.
  • Trees are available to plant in the right-of-way adjacent to your property only.
  • Preference will be given to applications from historically underserved neighborhoods, neighborhood planting groups, and those who plant large shade trees – where appropriate.
  • Small trees are available only to those whose planting space is limited by area and/or overhead utilities (see application for additional information).
  • Limited quantities of each tree species are available. We will do our best to accommodate your preference, but cannot guarantee your first choice of trees.
  • Grit City Trees are not for resale.

For the best chance of success with your new street trees carefully read the information available on the Planting and Growing web page.

Submit Applications

Fill out and complete the Grit City Trees Application (PDF) by the deadlines listed above and email completed applications to or mail/drop it off at 326 East D Street, Tacoma, WA 98421.

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