Just in time to lift spirits from the gloom of clearing walks and driveways of snow, the deadline for getting new trees in the neighborhood is rapidly approaching.

Tom Schmeling, a board member of the SNA and a former “tree captain” for 12th Street, points out that the spring Providence Neighborhood Planting Program cutoff date is Jan. 15, so now is the time to act.

The PNPP is a partnership of the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe Street Tree Endowment, the City of Providence and the residents of Providence to provide free trees for planting along the sidewalks.

Since 1988, the endowment has matched city Parks Department funds to provide trees, soil, sidewalk preparation and tree delivery for residents who apply for and receive a Neighborhood Street Tree Planting Award.

The program is accessible at http://www.pnpp.org/.

To receive street trees, neighborhoods should have:

  • A volunteer to organize a Neighborhood Street Tree Planting Award application.
  • Requests from at least five properties for at least one tree at each property within an area of one to two city blocks.
  • Documentation of property owner consent to street tree planting.
  • Help from each property owner or resident to help plant their tree on planting day, water weekly and weed regularly.

Schmeling says, “We all came out one Saturday morning and worked together in teams. It was fun to do, and the saplings we planted are now about 12 to 15 feet tall.

“I didn’t need a tree myself, but that was not an obstacle to me being a tree captain. I’m glad I did. It’s a very worthwhile project. The trees beautify the street, increase property values for everyone, and provide shade in summer, which lowers cooling costs.”

So the time to think green is now, but there is a backup option. The deadline for the fall program is July 15.