Mountlake Terrace residents can get free street trees

To increase access for all residents to the benefits of trees, the city is offering free street trees and tree planting.

Trees better the community in many ways, the city said in announcing the program. They filter air pollutants, cool neighborhoods in summer, encourage walking and running, soak up stormwater runoff, provide homes for wildlife, increase property values, and decrease stress. Trees fight climate change by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide.

This new program, Trees for Terrace, is open to both property owners and renters. Renters must have owner permission for tree planting. Applications open Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Street tree species were selected for tolerance to exposure/drought, ability to provide shade, strong structural form, resistance to disease and insects, non-aggressive roots, pedestrian compatibility, and fall color or spring blooms. A range of street trees in various sizes are available – the large trees are Sugar Maple, Scarlet Oak, Greenspire Linden, or Japanese Zelkova; the medium-sized tree options are Kentucky Yellowwood, Persian Ironwood, or Japanese Snowbell; and for small trees, participants can choose between a Paperbark Maple, American Hornbeam, or an Eastern Redbud.

Participants will need to water their tree weekly (15-20 gallons) during the dry season until the tree is established. A free watering bag and wood chip mulch will be provided. Tree watering cost is approximately 22 cents per week for the average single-family home in Mountlake Terrace.

Tree stewards will need enough area for a tree close to the street but set back far enough from pavement, sidewalks, overhead wires, and underground pipes to avoid damage from tree roots. See whether your property is suitable by checking the interactive map on the Trees for Terrace web page. Some restrictions apply: one tree per address, with tree availability subject to change based on local tree stock and grant funding availability. Priority is given to locations within a quarter-mile of Highway 99 or I-5, in the Hall Creek drainage basin, or in low tree equity areas. The Tree Equity Score is a metric derived from canopy cover, demographics, and socioeconomic data.

To apply for your free street tree, fill out a short online form. Free tree applications will be accepted between Feb. 1 and March 31, with plantings this fall.

Paper forms and information in other languages are available upon request. Funding to support this program was provided by the state Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry Program.

For more information, contact Laura Reed, stormwater program manager, at or 425-744-6226.

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