Sacramento Free Shade Trees Program Benefits

As the temperatures rise in Sacramento, the need for sustainable community and urban forests increases. To help achieve better tree cover, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) partners with Sacramento Tree Foundation (Sac Tree) to facilitate a free shade tree program.  

Since 1990, the two organizations have facilitated the planting of more than 600,000 Sacramento shade trees. In this article, we will take a deeper look at the free shade tree program and the benefits Sacramento residents can derive from the generous program. 

What is the Sacramento Shade Trees Program? 

The free shade tree program focuses on taking the necessary measures to ensure maximum tree cover in the Sacramento region. Sac Tree and SMUD customers are offered a free landscape assessment and up to ten trees per customer, with more than 30 varieties to choose from. 

To qualify for the program, Sacramento residents have to satisfy the following requirements: 

  • They have to be SMUD customers
  • As a property owner, you will need enough space for the trees
  • Schedule an appointment with a community forester – the assessment appointments can be done in person or virtually
  • Meet with a community forester to figure out the most ideal spots to plant and which trees would perform best

Once the requirements are satisfied, residents receive free Sacramento shade trees together with ties, stakes, and instructions on how to plant them. 

Benefits of the Free Sacramento Shade Trees Program

At a first glance, it might look like the free shade tree program is only dedicated to improving shade in commercial and residential properties. While shade is a major benefit, the program delivers a wide range of other advantages, including: 

1. Cleaner Air 

Trees use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, releasing oxygen as the by-product. Human beings – and other living things, for example, pets – consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide as the by-product. This means that trees create a balance in the air quality, maximizing the amount of oxygen in the surroundings. 

2. Energy Conservation 

Trees act as natural air conditioners. It is estimated that the evaporation generated by one tree can produce a cooling effect similar to that generated by 10 room-size, residential air conditioners operating twenty hours a day. 

In California, parts with trees experience summer temperatures at least 6 to 8 degrees lower than comparable neighborhoods with minimal tree cover. On average, tree windbreaks can reduce the residential heating cost by 10 to 15%; while the evaporative and shading cooling can cut down residential air conditioning costs by about 20 to 50%. 

3.Improved Property Value 

Home’s landscaped with trees often sell more quickly compared to homes without trees. In most cases, the homes are worth 5 to 15% more than properties without trees. In places where an entire street is lined with properly-trimmed trees, the properties may be worth up to 25% more. 

In areas where a canopy of trees exists, offices and apartments rent more quickly and feature a higher occupancy rate. This suggests that Sacramento shade trees can enhance economic stability by attracting a wide range of businesses. 

4. Combating the Green House Effect

Excess greenhouse gases produce a global warming effect. With most vehicles in Sacramento consuming fossil fuels, a large quantity of greenhouse gas is released in the environment. 

The heat from the sun reflected off the earth’s surface is trapped in the thickening gas layer, increasing the global temperature. Carbon dioxide is a leading greenhouse gas. Absorbing carbon dioxide, trees help combat global warming. 


Q: Which is the Best Tree for Shade?

A: A wide range of fast-growing shade trees exist. In Sacramento, however, the most popular trees include: 

  • Crape myrtle 
  • Zelkova 
  • Eastern redbud 
  • Shantung maple 

Local Tree Experts Overview 

In an attempt to reduce global warming, clean the breathing air, reduce the air-conditioning budget, and make Sacramento more relaxing, SMUD and Sac Tree offer free shade trees. The free shade tree program is available to property owners as long as they are SMUD customers. In this guide, we have everything you would need to get free Sacramento shade trees.

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