Around Town

Nonprofit offers native trees for McLean residents to plant in their yards

McLean homeowners pose with a tree planted as part of the Neighborhood Tree Program (courtesy McLean Tree Foundation)

With the first day of spring drawing ever closer, the McLean Tree Foundation is gearing up for another season of sprucing up the area’s tree canopy.

For a $100 fee, the local nonprofit is offering to help McLean homeowners plant growing native trees in their yards as part of its Neighborhood Tree Program, which is now in its ninth year.

“Native trees increase biodiversity, enhance ecosystems, provide shelter for wildlife, improve our health and the environment, increase property values, and reduce heating and cooling costs for homeowners,” MTF Chairman Carol Wolter said in a news release. “In short, trees contribute to our well-being!”

Launched in 2014, the Neighborhood Tree Program is the only tree-planting initiative in Fairfax County that’s specifically aimed at homeowners, according to the foundation.

In addition to selecting and delivering a 6 to 12-foot-tall tree, volunteers help with the actual planting, give residents information about how to take care of the tree, and check in after a few months to see how it’s doing.

Plantings occur in the spring and fall, but applications are accepted throughout the year, MTF board member Steve Lagerfeld says. Since it began, the program has added 70 trees in McLean.

The McLean Trees Foundation originated in 1964 as a McLean Citizens Association program whose goal was to plant 300 dogwood, oak and maple trees, according to the foundation’s website.

Using proceeds from a community-wide newspaper recycling campaign to fund tree plantings, the program evolved into a permanent MCA committee in 1980 and incorporated as a standalone organization in 2004.

After the recycling campaign ended in 2014, the foundation says it’s now entirely supported by grants and donations. On top of the Neighborhood Tree Program, MTF has tree sponsorships where donors of $500 or more can get one planted at a public park.