Since 2001, Miami-Dade County has distributed 163,937 trees to residents, “making it one of the most popular community programs” according to the county.
Miami-Dade County, long known for its famous beaches and warm winters, is surprisingly lacking in any significant tree cover. A 2008 tree cover analysis by University of Florida and the county’s Environment Resources Management department showed that Miami-Dade’s urban areas averaged only 12% tree cover. By way of comparison, other urban areas in the country have as much as a 35% tree canopy.
There was concern about the additional loss of shade trees caused by the removal of citrus canker impacted trees. In the fall of 2000, the County petitioned the Florida Department of Agriculture for money to begin restoring the communal loss of additional shade.
The Adopt-a-Tree program resulted from the input of community groups, agricultural interests and government agencies seeking to improve the depleted tree canopy in the County. The first Adopt-a-Tree event took place in July 2001, and since then, this program has been working to foster a heightened awareness of the value of shade trees here in Miami-Dade County.
Trees are important for any community, because trees help reduce air-conditioning costs by providing shade to a homeowner’s property. Additionally, a well-landscaped home improves its appearance and helps increase a property’s real estate value. Also, trees reduce flooding by absorbing excess rain water.
The program is designed to strengthen the condition of our community’s tree canopy. Therefore, the trees selected for “adoption” are ones that make good shade trees in their adulthood. The program provides both native “ornamental” shade trees and a variety of non-citrus fruit trees.
The Adopt-a-Tree program makes all Miami-Dade County single-family and duplex home owners eligible for two FREE tree per folio number each year. Townhome owners are eligible provided they have sufficient space to plant the trees, or obtain “written authorization from their homeowner’s association to plant the tree(s) in a designated common area (defined by a site plan).” Likewise, condominium owners may also obtain trees with written authorization from their condominium association allowing the trees to be planted in a designated common area. Tree species will vary depending on availability. Tree quantities are limited and will be given away on a first come, first served basis.
The next event will be held on Saturday, July 26 at Harris Field Pavilion, 1034 NW 8th St., Homestead. On Sunday, September 14, the Adopt-a-Tree give-away will take place at Miami Dade College North Campus, 11380 NW 27th Avenue, Miami.
For more information, and for eligibility requirements, visit the Adopt-a-Tree website, email email@example.com or call 305-372-6784.