In November 2019, 23 trees were planted throughout the city of Sarasota as part of the Mature Tree Pilot Program. In phase I, citizens could choose from a dozen approved species, from gumbo limbos to silver buttonwood and magnolia, and purchase them to be planted around the city. Then those citizens were responsible for planting, pruning, watering and maintaining the tree.
In February 2021, phase II of the program was launched. The initiative offers an incentive of up to $500 to homeowners who pay $100 toward the cost of purchasing and planting an approved tree. All trees cost less than $600. Once the planting is verified by city staff, citizens will be reimbursed up to $500.
Seventy-five trees have been funded for Phase II; trees will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. So far, 43 tress have been planted during Phase II, including canopy trees like live oak, magnolia, slash pine, "shady lady" black olive, gumbo limbo and royal poinciana. Smaller trees include silver buttonwood, loquat, holly, pink tabebuia and yellow silver trumpet tree.
The goal of planting trees is to not only beautify the community, but to provide clean air, clean stormwater runoff and reduce green house emissions. It will also provide natural wildlife habitats to Sarasota's variety of native and migrant birds. It will also improve overall health for humans, too—just in time for Earth Day on Thursday, April 22.
If you wish to register to purchase a mature tree, find the registration papers here.