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The Greening of Detroit will plant 4,000 trees in Detroit this year and you can help


A bright forest green to replace the dingy post-industrial gray the outside world connects to Motown … that’s the plan The Greening of Detroit is working toward with its tree planting program.

On Saturday April 11, The Greening of Detroit and its volunteers planted more than 110 trees to kick off its 25th year of making Detroit greener. By the end of this year they plan to plant about 4,000, bringing the total to 89,000 trees the group has put into the earth in Detroit since it was created.

“The Greening of Detroit has been working in the city for years to address the community’s forestry needs,” said Dean Hay, director of Green Infrastructure. “Our work is more important than ever, especially since the devastation of the ash trees in metro Detroit and the aging of other tree species in the city. Improving the urban canopy in our city will help beautify, clean the air, and reduce flooding.”

Dad and kids tree planting

Dad and kids tree planting

While brightening up areas, the trees actually have a more practical function. The Detroit Water and Sewage Department helped locate high-flood neighborhoods, so trees could be planted there to reduce water runoff in the areas.

Being an older city, Detroit’s antiquated infrastructure is not always prepared for heavy rain or the annual snow melt. The use of trees helps manages the weather complications in way that is not only economical, but healthy for the city.

The community is ready to help with The Greening’s Green Thumb Volunteer Challenge.

“We are so excited about the new trees going up on Friday,” said one community member. “It’s going to brighten up the neighborhood.  I’m inspired to do more … after all I don’t need another pair of shoes!   We will do our part and also encourage others to join in on keeping up our neighborhood!”

The goals of Greening Detroit align well with the Detroit Future City framework, and its attempts to showcase the city’s strengths.

The tree planting initiative is not only ecological, but also economic and social. It does the following:

  • Cleans the air
  • Provides shade and cooling in the summer, reducing heating and cooling expenses
  • Reduces carbon emissions
  • Helps fight climate change
  • Reduces crime and stabilizing neighborhoods
  • Increases real estate values
  • Provides aesthetic beauty and calmness to the landscape

The biggest corporate sponsor for The Greening’s Green Thumb Volunteer Challenge has been Quicken Loans.

“Quicken Loans is excited to be joining The Greening of Detroit again this year in the beautification of Detroit’s neighborhoods through tree plantings,” said Leslie Andrews, director of community relations. “Our team members are very passionate about giving back to their community and they look forward to these events each spring. Last year they volunteered more than 2,300 hours planting trees with the organization.”

Tree planting on Bentler

Tree planting on Bentler

The community is invited to get involved by using software used at the planting sites so residents and volunteers can be better educated about trees.  Open Tree Map Detroit gives citizens the opportunity to help inventory urban trees, learn about the environmental and economic benefits of trees, and explore nature in their city.

With the exception of Memorial Day weekend, there will be planting every Saturday through mid-June.  Those interested in volunteering can register online at by clicking on “Get Involved” or contact The Greening of Detroit at (313) 237-8733.

Quicken Loans is joined in sponsoring the arboreal influx by the Detroit Pistons Foundation, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Roasting Plant, and Culligan Water.  Tree planting program sponsors include U.S. Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Detroit Water & Sewerage Department, and Great Lakes Brewing Company.

The plans for tree additions don’t end here. Applications are currently being accepted for the fall planting session for neighborhoods.  There is no cost, but community residents are encouraged to assist in planting and the ongoing care of the tree planted in front of their home.

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