TreePlanters Grants

People are essential to the health of the urban forest. Research shows that newly planted trees that are properly cared for in the first three years have a significantly higher survivability rate than those that are not, especially in urban environments. And trees give back to us, too. Trees are central to our long term health and well-being by cleaning air, providing shade that cools our homes in the summer and warms them in the winter, and reducing our stress levels. 

But not every community has equal access to tree-lined streets. Historic and ongoing environmental policies have caused increased pollution and lower than average tree canopy in some neighborhoods in our region, specifically on the southwest side of Chicago and near south suburbs. Openlands TreePlanters Grants seek to increase access by providing new trees to communities throughout the City of Chicago and near south suburbs with special focus on communities with low-canopy cover including Little Village, Brighton Park, Archer Heights, Chicago Lawn, West Elsdon, Gage Park, West Lawn, Clearing, Garfield Ridge, and Ashburn.

TreePlanters Grants are awarded to people, groups, or organizations that can bring together and coordinate their neighbors to plant 10-40 trees in predetermined locations in their neighborhood. While TreePlanters grantees provide the people and places to plant trees, Openlands provides the education, organization, supplies, expertise, and quality control on the day of planting, working with you to host an educational and engaging tree planting event. After planting day, you and your neighbors commit to caring for the trees for the next few years while they get established. Throughout, Openlands Community Arborist and forestry staff are there to provide assistance, educational resources, and answer questions you may have as your new trees grow. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Openlands community tree planting events will not convene volunteer groups to accomplish projects, as to not create undue risk to the safety of Openlands staff and volunteers.  Following strict social distancing, sanitation and hygiene protocol, Openlands forestry staff will plant the projects that residents coordinate until further notice.

Learn more about the TreePlanters Grants Program and How to Apply.


For more information, please contact trees@openlands.org or call 312.863.6289

How to Apply

Complete your application for an Openlands TreePlanters Grant, view the step-by-step instructions, and read answers to some frequently asked questions.

Planting Day

Learn more about the schedule and expectations for the planting day, including the size and species of trees Openlands commonly plants.

Taking Care of Your Trees

As a recipient of a new trees through an Openlands TreePlanters Grant, we ask that you provide basic tree care for the three years following planting.