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Sign up now to reserve a tree! Trees will be distributed in early fall.

Planting trees provides a number of benefits when it comes to minimizing stormwater runoff. The leaves of the tree, or canopy, provide surface area for rainwater to land and be absorbed as well as slow down rain as it falls. The roots of a tree not only take in water but also create healthy soil conditions which promote better infiltration. 

Trees will be young saplings, approximately 2-3 feet tall. Species available include:

  • Staghorn Sumac
  • River Birch
  • Northern Red Oak
  • Swamp White Oak
  •  Red Osier Dogwood. 

Please note, residents from the Silver Lake sub-watershed will be given priority in this year’s tree giveaway and any unclaimed trees will be made available to others in the District later this summer. Not sure if you live in the Silver Lake sub-watershed? Visit the watershed map on the project page.

See below for more details. Questions? Contact Amy Bakkum at

Trees available for reservation


Staghorn Sumac

Tolerant of clay soils and drought, this fast-growing shrub is a great choice for steep slopes. The sumac puts down runners and spreads to form colonies which turn scarlet in the fall. Considered a small tree or large shrub, the sumac can grow to 15 to 25 feet tall and its berries provide food for birds throughout winter. Fun fact? The staghorn sumac is also surprisingly tolerant of road salt, making it a smart choice along sidewalks.
More information and photos. 


River Birch

A fan of acidic, wet soils, the river birch can be found growing along the Mississippi River and would do well in wet, low spots or in a raingarden. A highly adaptable tree, the river birch will tolerate clay soils and some compaction as well as hot conditions. Fun fact? River birch has fewer insect and disease problems than any other birch species.
More information and photos. 


Northern Red Oak

A fast-growing species, the northern red oak grows more than 2 feet per year for 10 years! It is considered a good “street tree” because of its tolerance for pollution and compacted soils. Growing 60-75 feet tall, the northern red oak provides great shade as well as beautiful hues of red in the fall.
More information and photos. 


Swamp White Oak

A great shade-producing tree, the swamp white oak grows 50-60 feet and its leaves turn yellow-gold in the fall. It is a generally durable tree, tolerant of both wet soils and drought, earning its place as a “street tree”. Young trees are tolerant of light shade but will prefer full sun as they reach maturity. Fun fact? The swamp white oak has a two-layer root system, which allows it to grow in areas that are flooded in spring but dry in the summer.
More information and photos.


Red Osier Dogwood

A favorite of landscapers and gardeners, the red osier dogwood is known for its bright red stems which provide of pop of color year-round. A very hardy shrub, the red osier dogwood will tolerate clay soils, wet soils, occasional drought, and shade- though it thrives in moist soils, making it effective erosion control along streambanks. The red osier dogwood is considered a large shrub, growing quickly to heights of 7-9 feet and spreading slowly outward up to 10 feet. Fun fact? The berries of the red osier dogwood are eaten by at least 18 species of birds.
More information and photos.