get a rebate for planting a tree on your property?

DO YOU WANT TO

1. Learn about this resource. 

Residents can receive a rebate when they plant shade trees on a residential or commercial property in DC. Shade trees hold rainwater in the soil, reducing polluted water from getting into our rivers. We—DC Government—offer a one-time rebate of $50-100 per tree up to the cost of your tree (not including tax and shipping). The amount of your rebate depends on the type of tree you plant. You can receive a rebate for up to 25 trees per property.

 

This program is called RiverSmart Rebates and is offered by the Department of Energy & Environment, in partnership with Casey Trees, a local nonprofit.

2. Check if you are eligible.

You are eligible if you own or rent a residential or commercial building in DC. If you rent your home, you’ll need to ask your landlord for permission to plant a tree.

 

You don’t need to live in DC to apply, as long as the property you’re applying for is in DC.

3. Apply.


  1. Buy a tree that will grow to be at least 15 feet tall and wide.
  2. Avoid these types of trees that we’ve rejected in the past, they’re harmful to our ecosystem, too small, or vulnerable to pests. Keep your receipt.
  3. Submit an online application and attach your receipt.
You can apply within one year of the date on the receipt for your tree. You can apply for the rebate any time of year, but keep in mind that the best times to plant a tree are spring and fall.





4. Gather more information.

What happens after I apply?


  1. Casey Trees will reach out if your application is incomplete and ask for the necessary documentation
  2. If funds are available right away, Casey Trees will mail you a check for your rebate at the address in your application within 2-6 weeks. If funds aren’t available when you apply, you’ll receive your rebate when funds become available (usually in November of each year).
  3. You water your tree regularly, especially in the summer, and mulch your tree twice a year. Your tree will need to be pruned as it grows. Follow the tree care guide.
If you are not approved, we will let you know by email within two weeks of your application.




Are there any additional requirements I should know about?


We—DC Government—don’t offer rebates for some types of trees:

  • Trees that won’t grow to 15 feet tall and wide, including varieties of crape myrtle, Japanese Maple, and some ‘weeping’ trees
  • Trees that aren’t native to our ecosystem and are known to cause harm to the environment, also known as invasive species
  • Species of Ash, because they’re currently dying at high rates due to a beetle, called the Emerald Ash Borer, that feeds on them
In the past, we have denied rebates for these specific varieties.




Who should I contact if I have questions?


First, take a look at the frequently asked questions at the bottom of the page. If you still have questions, please reach out to our local partner Casey Trees at (202) 833-4010. Or you can email us at treerebate@caseytrees.org with the subject line “Tree Rebate Question”. If you would like to talk to someone in DC Government about the program, please reach out to our RiverSmart Homes team at (202) 535-2252, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Or, you can email us at riversmarthomes@dc.gov using the subject line “Tree Rebate Question.”




I still need help making my home more environmentally friendly. What should I do?


You can find information about other resources that help make your home more environmentally friendly.




Frequently Asked Questions


How is my rebate calculated? The amount of your rebate depends on the type of tree you plant. If you plant a tree species, like oak and hickory, that has a larger canopy and offers more environmental benefits, you’ll get a $100 rebate. For most other species, you’ll get a $50 rebate, with some exceptions listed below. Can I get a rebate for a tree planted on the street? No, we don’t offer rebates for trees planted in public space, including between the sidewalk and street. However, you can request that a tree be planted on a street near you by calling 311. I don’t know how to plant a tree. What should I do? Planting a tree properly is simple, but you’ll need to prepare. Doing so will ensure your tree thrives once it is in the ground. Learn more about how to plant a tree properly on Casey Trees’s website. Can I get help planting my tree or installing other qualifying green projects, like a rain barrel or rain garden? Maybe! Our RiverSmart Homes program reduced prices and installation assistance for rain barrels, trees, rain gardens, and bayscaping. You may be eligible if you own a single-family home (or a building with four or fewer units). You don’t pay anything to plant a tree with RiverSmart Homes, and the program offers 17 tree options. RiverSmart Rebates is open to any property owner, including residential, commercial, and community space. It might be a better fit for you than RiverSmart Homes if you prefer to:

  • choose a tree variety not offered by RiverSmart Homes
  • avoid long wait times to have your tree planted
I’d like to get a rebate for other green projects, like a rain barrel or rain garden. What should I do? When you install qualifying green projects on your own or with an installer you choose, you can receive a rebate from us—DC Government. The eligibility criteria, application process, and amount of rebate vary depending on the type of project, and you may need to apply before installation. You can learn more about the projects we offer rebates for:
  • Rain barrels to catch and store rain to use later to water your garden or wash your car
  • Green roofs to support the growth of plants that retain rainwater
  • Permeable surfaces to capture and temporarily store rainwater instead of a regular asphalt or concrete surface
  • Rain gardens or another engineered garden system to filter pollution out of rainwater
Can I get any other financial assistance for planting a tree? Yes! When you apply for this program, we’ll help you apply for a discount on your DC Water bill, called RiverSmart Rewards. This discount is for property owners who prevent runoff on their property with qualifying green projects, like shade trees. How do these green projects help the city of DC? Green projects, like rain barrels, rain gardens, and shade trees, help reduce the amount of polluted rainwater running off your property and into your rivers. This helps us protect the Anacostia River, Potomac River, and Rock Creek from harmful pollution. Can I try to reapply for the program if I am not approved? Yes. You can reapply for a rebate if you believe changes to your situation might make you eligible. If you’re approved but funds aren’t available when you apply, you don’t need to reapply. We’ll mail you your rebate when funds become available (usually in November of each year).




Do all eligible applicants receive the rebate?


Yes. As long as you follow our guidelines on choosing and planting a tree, you’ll get a rebate for up to 25 trees per property.





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Keywords: landscaping, homeowners, renters, business owners, nonprofits, community-based organizations, churches, temples, mosques, apartment buildings, reimbursement, polluted water, sustainability, refund, discount, green home, plant tree, tree planting

 

This page was last updated May 2021.

Department of Energy and Environment