KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — To help bring more trees into urban areas, grants are being offered by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry to help cities and counties, schools, and nonprofit organizations with tree planting projects.

The Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) Community Tree Planting Program applications are open. The goal of the program is to help increase and enhance urban and community tree populations. TAEP offers a cost-share program for tree planting, the funds cover half the cost of trees and shipping, contracted planting, mulch, irrigation devices, tree labels, and signage. In addition, the trees used must be Tennessee grown.

“Urban and community forests provide a myriad of environmental, health, and economic benefits,” State Forester David Arnold said. “Trees are work horses for our communities, providing energy savings through shading, storm water mitigation, rain interception, and air quality improvement through filtration and absorption. Our TAEP Community Tree Planting Program assists municipalities to establish, improve, and maintain healthy urban forest resources.”

Grant funds can be used for planting on public property, rights-of-way, and private non-profit land with public access. In addition, trees can also be placed on private property in a riparian area, which is a 35-foot transitional area between land that contains a mix of trees, shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers and the edge of a river, stream, or creek bank.

The deadline for proposals to be submitted is 4:30 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 3, 2022. They can be submitted by emailing Forestry.Nashville@tn.gov. For assistance developing a grant project, contact Diane Warwick at 865-617-8829 or diane.warwick@tn.gov.