Request free tree for your empty tree box – online

Many may already know about this D.C. program, but for those that do not, or have yet to act upon it, here is some brief information:

  • The Urban Forestry Administration (part of DDOT) plants approximately 4,000 – 5,000 street trees in the District each year from October through April.  “Street trees” are those trees located between the curb and sidewalk–the so-called “tree boxes.”
  • Residents may request a tree for an existing, empty tree box space or continuous planting strip (grass strip) in front of their residence, or even trees for an entire block.
  • UFA gives first priority to planting requests received on or before June 15 each year. UFA gives second priority to areas that have few or no existing street trees.
  • UFA cannot accept planting requests for cemented areas where trees boxes do not exist. To request a tree box, contact DDOT’s Public Space Administration/Street Maintenance Division at (202) 727-1000. Only after the planting box has been installed will UFA accept a request to plant it.

Basically, you are guaranteed a free tree will be planted within a year IF you make the request by June 15th.

For those who hate the thought of picking up the phone to call the D.C. government, you can even do this online by logging into your DC.Gov account (which one uses for a variety of things, ranging from car registration to service requests) and navigating to the Service Request Center.  This shortcut for Tree Services will take you to the correct option (click this link AFTER you are already logged in).  Then simply enter text such as the examples below:

Request a tree for an existing, empty tree box space


Request a tree for an existing, continuous planting strip (grass strip)


Request trees for an entire block.

You will receive a confirmation number for an open service request (of which you can check the status at any time by returning to the DC.Gov website.

These are substantial, 10 – 12 foot trees that will be shade-providing in a year or two.  If you have 2-3 minutes to spare, help improve our neighborhood by requesting a free tree via logging on or picking up the phone.


4 thoughts on “Request free tree for your empty tree box – online

  1. and, don’t forget to water the trees that UFA has planted this season and last. if we don’t take the time to care for these trees after they’ve been planted, then all of this is for naught.

  2. I have been requesting a replacement tree for three years, after it took three years to get the dead tree taken down — the stump remains. Any advice?

    • call 311 and put in a request. i’ve done this, and it has worked for me (or go to the service center tab at, it’s basically the same thing).

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