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Trees are an important asset to the City of Fort Lauderdale and its citizens. For years, Fort Lauderdale has been planting trees with the help of its citizens. Through the Adopt-a-Tree Program, the City is able to form a partnership with concerned homeowners to improve our city streets.


Fort Lauderdale, through the Parks and Recreation Department, will provide a variety of trees to homeowners to plant in the swale area (the grassy strip between the pavement and the sidewalk) adjacent to their property. The homeowner must then plant the tree and care for it. Adopting a tree is a big commitment and should be taken seriously.

Homeowner's Commitment

To participate in the Adopt-a-Tree Program, the homeowner must agree to the following conditions:

1. All trees will be planted on the City swale (the area between the sidewalk or property line and the street). Since the trees are purchased with City funds, they are to be planted on public property or right-of-way.

2. Trees will be planted within a few days of delivery. Trees are usually delivered on Friday so that the homeowner has the weekend to plant the tree. Containerized or potted trees are used in the Adopt-a-Tree Program to ensure higher survival and easier handling. Planting and initial care instructions will be given to the homeowner at the time of delivery. If you are unable to plant your Adopt-a-Tree on the day it is delivered, please water it daily until its planted.

3. The homeowner will water and maintain the tree(s) so as to increase the chances of the tree's survival. Watering a tree once it's been planted through the first few months is critical for the tree's survival. Trees take much longer to establish than most people think. The size trees that are used in the Adopt-a-Tree Program, can take over a year to be fully established and "take care of itself." During the establishment period, the tree(s) will need supplemental watering.

4. For safety and health reasons, Adopt-a-Trees are to be planted in a location that is:

  1. At least four (4) feet from the edge of curbed streets and six (6) feet from the edge of non-curbed streets.
  2. At least 15 feet from fire hydrants or street lights.
  3. At least 25 feet from street corners and street signs.
  4. Approximately 30 feet from another tree (newly planted or existing).

This provides for adequate space for the tree to grow to its mature size without obstructing street signs, lights or other trees.

5. Parking on the swale should be discontinued. Not only can cars damage trees, but the compaction caused by the weight of the vehicles will restrict the root growth of the tree and ultimately result in the demise of the tree.

6. Prior to planting, the homeowner needs to contact Florida Power and Light Company (954-792-8711) and Sunshine State One (1-800-432-4770) to ensure that any excavation will not affect utility cables and pipes. This is to prevent injury to the homeowner and any underground utilities. It is easy to do thousands of dollars of damage by simply digging a hole.

The City's Commitment

As part of the Adopt-a-Tree Program , Fort Lauderdale agrees to provide you with:

1. Tree species that will best suit the homeowner's swale and community. The homeowner with be given a choice of trees that match the other trees in the neighborhood and will also grow within the confines of the planting area.

2. Tree(s) of proper quality. Quality trees will live longer and cost less to maintain over their lifetime.

3. Tree(s) of a size easily planted by the average person. Usually, 7 or 15 gallon (6 to 8 feet tall) nursery stock is used so that the trees can be moved around with ease during the planting process.

4. Planting and care instructions will be given to homeowners. This will be a step-by-step planting and care brochure that should provide all the information need for the first few years of care.

Due to staffing, the Adopt-a-Tree Program has been placed on a temporary hold. If you are interested in participating we are still accepting applications. Please print out the Adopt-a-Tree Application and mail it to the included address when completed. Once the program resumes, applications will be processed by order of date received. Feel free to check the website periodically for updates on the program.

If you have any questions or would like to receive an application in the mail, contact Mark Williams, Urban Forester by phone at 954-828-5785 or email Please include your mailing address in the email or voicemail.


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