The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

September 25, 2012

Free trees available through state program; volunteers ready to help with planting

By Debby Woodin

— Joplin and Duquesne residents and nonprofit organizations who have rebuilt or repaired their homes or buildings from the 2011 tornado and are ready for trees are eligible to receive up to three free trees.

Volunteers also will plant those trees if requested.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has made about 1,500 trees available through Priority ReLeaf, a program of Forest ReLeaf of Missouri. The program has been in operation to help plant trees in parks and residential areas.

“We quit planting in the summer,” said Ricstet Mayer, forestry recovery coordinator for the Department of Conservation. “Now we are planting again. We need applicants. We have more trees.” The program runs through March.

A variety of trees are available, from tall shade trees like oaks to flowering and ornamental trees such as redbud, serviceberry, hackberry and tulip trees. Mayer said the smaller trees may be planted in areas where utility lines are close so that they do not interfere with power lines like the larger trees do. The trees are 3-gallon size, about 5 to 6 feet tall.

“If you moved back into your house, and you’re ready for trees, and you had damage from the tornado, you’re eligible” for the free trees, Mayer said.

Volunteers from Rebuild Joplin and AmeriCorps will plant them.

“We have volunteers through the fall planting season,” Mayer said.

Applications to obtain the trees are available at the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department administrative building at 3010 W. First St., or at Duquesne City Hall, 1501 S. Duquesne Road. They also are available on the city’s website at

Details: Joplin, 417-624-6937, or Duquesne, 417-781-5085.