Tree Canopy Fund Program Frequently Asked Questions

The purpose of the Tree Canopy Fund Program is to reverse the decline of Arlington County’s tree cover/canopy by planting more trees on private property and maintaining Champion Tree designated or under application for protection through the County’s Tree and Shrub Ordinance as specimen, heritage, or memorial trees.

Who is eligible for a grant?

Civic and homeowner associations, community nonprofit organizations, civic service clubs, church or school-related groups, and ad hoc neighborhood groups (we strongly encourage Individuals not affiliated with a group to recruit at least one or two other neighbors to apply together).

What does the grant cover?

  1. Planting Large, Locally Native Trees: All trees must be planted on private property (grounds of private houses, apartment buildings, condominiums, churches, etc. Property owners must sign a waiver granting permission to plant the trees and releasing the program from all liability. Property owners must also agree maintain the trees for perpetuity. If a large canopy tree is not appropriate for the location (due to overhead wires, poor soil conditions, etc.) smaller or non-native trees will be considered. A list of priority trees and other available trees is online at ecoactionarlington.org. Please note: This program provides trees with diameters of about two inches that in maturity, will be large canopy trees.  Residents can get whips of smaller trees (i.e. with mature height from 20 to 35 feet) through the Arlington County Tree Distribution Program.
  2. Tree Care for Champion Trees: Trees that are on Arlington County’s current list of Champion Trees that are also be designated or under application for protection through the County’s Tree and Shrub Ordinance as specimen, heritage, or memorial trees can receive funding for maintenance. EcoAction Arlington and UFC will work with applicants and a tree contractor to estimate maintenance costs for designated trees. Such requests may be submitted at any time directly to EcoAction Arlington by email at trees@ecoactionarlington.org.

What are key dates?

Tree Canopy Fund Grant Application Process

  • Fri., Jan 7, 2022: Deadline to submit an application. Complete an application on the EcoAction website to request a large tree. Property owners with small front yards impeded by utility lines, complete this application to request a Sweetbay Magnolia or Redbud.
  • Mid-January 2022: Applicants will be notified of final decision.
  • March/April 2022: EcoAction Arlington will contact applicants with an estimated planting date. Trees will be planted by the end of April.

Who coordinates the program?

The Tree Canopy Fund (TCF) is administered by EcoAction Arlington and the Arlington County Urban Forestry Commission (UFC).  EcoAction Arlington is a tax-deductible, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, while UFC is a volunteer, citizen commission, whose members are appointed by the Arlington County Board.

Projects are evaluated by a grant review panel consisting of representatives of EcoAction Arlington, UFC and Arlington County staff. Projects may be approved as requested, may be reduced in scope, or may be denied based upon the priorities of the Tree Canopy Fund and the availability of funds.

How does the process work?

  • Selected applicants must apply online. Photos and diagrams may be uploaded online or emailed to trees@ecoactionarlington.org. You are encouraged to apply early as last minute requests can overload the system.
  • The grant review panel will evaluate all applications in June. Groups may be contacted for clarification if necessary. Projects may be approved as requested, may be reduced in scope, or may be denied based upon the priorities of the Tree Canopy Fund and the availability of funds.

Projects priority is based on:

  • Projects from first-time applicants.
  • Neighborhoods with current canopy coverage below the 41% county average.
  • Locations that will shade a public sidewalk or other right-of-way, especially those where the public right-of-way between the curb and sidewalk is less than four feet wide;
  • Locations near a Resource Protection Area (generally within 100 feet of a stream), in an area subject to erosion, or in other environmentally degraded areas (while ensuring the protection of existing natural areas);
  • Tree species when planted adjacent to a Natural Resource Protection Area;
  • Locations that provide sufficient space for root growth and crown development and not located under utility wires;
  • Projects where Tree Stewards, Master Gardeners or other individuals who have training or experience in tree care have committed to maintain or provide maintenance advice or oversight;
  • Projects where applicant provides additional “cost share” towards tree planting or for the education project;
  • Projects that provide details regarding the proposed planting locations;
  • If the project is to replace a dead tree, the dead tree must have been removed completely up to a year prior to the grant application.
  • Projects submitted by organized groups.
  • Recipients are required to mark the tree locations with white paint circles or wooden markers so that Miss Utility may check and provide clearance for digging. An experienced tree planting contractor will provide the sapling trees, dig the holes, plant the trees, mulch and water. Recipients are required to have water available during the planting time, either by a hose or five-gallon bucket at each planting sit Staking of trees will only occur where the contractor feels it is necessary or if the recipient requests it due to environmental situations, such as near a playground, dog park, ball field, etc.

Questions?
EcoAction Arlington at 703-228-6427 or trees@ecoactionarlington.org.