Provo residents receive free trees

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Before the sun had risen on Sept. 23, Provo residents had lined up for the annual free tree program.

Hundreds of trees await pickup at North Park. Provo residents lined up early to pick out their preferred tree. (Ben Wallace)

For the past 17 years, Provo Power has been donating trees to residents for the purpose of creating temperature regulation around homes.

It is recommended that recipients use the trees to shade their homes. Trees act as a natural air conditioner and can be used to help keep a house cool, which in turn helps cut down on power consumption used by air conditioning.

Provo Power gives approximately 500 trees away each year and offers over 30 types of trees for the residents to choose from.

Because of the limited numbers of each tree type of tree, the trees are given out on a first-come-first-served basis. This lead to many residents lining up before the event to ensure they received the tree that they wanted.

“I’ve gotten four trees through the program,” said Chris Pattberg, a resident in Provo for 20 years. Pattberg was hoping to receive a maple of honey locus tree this year.

Provo resident DeAnne Moberg thought the program was a great idea. “I’m going to use it for a shade tree in my backyard,” Moberg said; it was her first year participating.

Before the giveaway, residents are required to fill out an application to prove they have fulfilled specific requirements. The main requirements are a resident can only receive a tree every four years and needs to have a central air cooling system in their house and be up to date on paying their bills. Provo Power normally takes applicants who fulfill these requirements on a first come basis until they reach 500. However, due to a shortage of qualified applicants, the program was opened this year to other residents who normally wouldn’t have qualified.

The pickup location was different this year than other years leaving event coordinators unsure if they would get the same turnout at the start of the event. However there was still a large line before the 8 a.m. start. “I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout this morning,” said Kat Linford, Energy Efficiency Coordinator for Provo Power.

Linford along with other employees helped residents choose the best tree and load it into their vehicle.

The free tree program has helped Provo to be a part of the Tree City USA organization for 31 years. Tree cities are required to have a dedicated board specifically for trees growing in the city. Provo is also required to hold a yearly Arbor Day celebration and to spend a certain amount of their budget on tree upkeep.

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