Iowa City is introducing a new “Root for Trees” program, offering vouchers subsidizing the cost of trees planted on residential properties. Root for Tree Vouchers, obtained from the City via simple application, are valid for 50% of the cost of retail purchase price of one tree, up to $125 (a $250 tree). Vouchers for an additional discount off retail price are available for income-eligible households. The Root for Trees program runs from October 15, 2020, to May 15, 2021, while funding and supplies last. 

Learn how you can participate

Iowa City residents who would like to plant a tree this fall or spring should visit the City’s and complete a short application to receive their Tree Voucher. Once the voucher is received, participants can visit one of two local garden centers to select their planting of choice and arrange for purchase. Vouchers are eligible for redemption at the Iowa City Earl May Garden Center, 1901 Lower Muscatine Road or Iowa City Landscaping and Garden Center, 520 Highway 1 W.

Residents must plant their tree on their property. If they would like to plant in the Right-of-Way, a no-fee permit is required prior to tree purchase. Before any yard digging is started, residents should call Iowa One Call at 811 to ensure utilities are properly located.  

Trees provide a variety of health and quality of life benefits, including improved neighborhood appearance, shade, and wind breaks which lower energy bills, decreased stormwater runoff, and habitat for birds and other urban wildlife. “Iowa City was included in the communities that experienced a great loss or damage to public and private tree canopy due to this summer’s Derecho storm. It’s vital that we all begin the process of replacing those trees because of the many benefits they provide,” City Forestry Superintendent Tyler Baird explained.

Iowa City's Climate Action & Adaptation Plan

The City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, available at, calls for an increase in the number of public and private tree plantings through a variety of incentives and education programs. “We are very excited to introduce this program as the first public incentive related to tree planting efforts,” said Assistant City Manager Ashley Monroe. Monroe added, “This fall and spring, we want to make trees and tree care as easy and cost-accessible as possible to as many residents as possible. Individuals and single properties absolutely benefit from a tree in their yard, but enabling residents to plant lots of new trees throughout our neighborhoods is something that benefits everyone for years to come.”

Those interested can learn more and apply to participate at

Date of publication

Monday, October 05, 2020