planting a million trees, continued

Who is Planting

Under MillionTreesNYC's unique public-private partnership, the New York City Parks Department and other municipal agencies will plant 60 percent of the initiative's million trees along city streets, in parks and on public rights of way. The remaining 40 percent is being planted by MillionTreesNYC lead co-partner NYRP, which assumes direct organizational responsibility for approximately 100,000 trees, itself. Another 300,000 trees will be planted as a result of outreach efforts coordinated and overseen by NYRP,  working with local nurseries, contractors and a corps of corporate and community volunteers to highlight the economic and health benefits associated with trees and encourage New York City homeowners, commercial real estate developers and other property owners to plant and register new trees on private properties throughout the five boroughs.

Costs of Planting

Unlike large-scale reforestation efforts occurring in other parts of the country, where very small and often-fragile starter saplings can be obtained for pennies a piece and planted en masse to cover many thousands of open acres, reforesting an urban landscape like New York City presents some highly specific challenges.

In a harsh urban environment, where soil may be nutrient-deficient, sunlight limited and air quality questionable – and factoring in potentially devastating human and mechanical impact – only a larger, more established tree will survive, let alone flourish. Trees of this maturity and resilience typically cost from $100 to $1,500 each, including ground excavation and preparation – so it quickly becomes clear that with a million tree goal, the MillionTreesNYC capital commitment is immense, while planning for and taking care of this huge and precious investment is of utmost importance and a critical component of NYRP’s obligations under MillionTreesNYC.

How We are Planting

NYRP has established the following three steps to ensure success as the organization undertakes its enormous commitment under MillionTreesNYC.

Planning  –  NYRP’s tree unit includes urban forestry specialists who – in partnership with a wide range of entities such as the New York City Housing Authority, New York City Department of Education, numerous cultural institutions and many more – identify a diverse array of viable properties where trees are needed and will make the greatest contribution to the immediate environment. After site surveying, comprehensive landscape designs are created and refined for all tree-planting locations, including recommended species and tree size – focusing on large canopy varieties that will most effectively and efficiently increase overall canopy coverage.

Procurement  –  NYRP is working with many of the country’s largest commercial nurseries, leveraging both individual and corporate donations, to select and purchase trees. Procurement efforts focus on nurseries located in the Northeast region so as to minimize NYRP’s carbon footprint in terms of transporting and managing nursery stock at MillionTreesNYC planting sites in each of the city’s five boroughs.

Planting  –  Under the MillionTreesNYC initiative, every year NYRP is planting 10,000 to 14,000 trees – that is 5,000 to 7,000 trees each spring and fall planting season. To accomplish this enormous task, NYRP engages local contractors and thousands of volunteers who join us in utilizing best practices in tree planting to ensure the long-term success of our efforts. Both NYRP and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation are reaching out to commercial and residential property developers to educate them regarding the importance of planting trees as a critical component of both private and public building projects.  And, as part of homeowner outreach, neighborhood residents are invited to take advantage of free tree giveaways, participate in tree-planting workshops and volunteer tree-planting days, and join community-based stewardship networks.



Top 20 trees being planted in New York City

American linden
Burr oak
Dawn redwood
Golden rain tree
Honey locust
Japanese flowering cherry
Japanese scholar tree
Japanese zelkova
Katsura tree




Kentucky coffee tree
Little leaf linden
Red bud
Red oak
Sawtooth oak
Scarlet oak
Silver linden
Swamp-white oak
Sweet gum
Tulip poplar