Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

Urban Forestry, image of a street lined with trees

Get out and enjoy the beauty of April tree blossoms across Iowa neighborhoods. Trees quietly enhance our daily lives in many ways. Neighborhood trees clean the air we breathe and make it fresher.

Here’s some fun options for you and your family to celebrate Iowa forests this fall.

  • Plant a Tree. Check out the How to Plant a Tree from A Container video for tips on how to plant trees properly.
  • Discover what trees are growing around you. Iowa’s 10 Most Common Urban Trees can help you identify trees in your yard or neighborhood and learn more about each kind of tree.
  • Calculate the benefits of planting trees. It's easy to estimate the value of planting trees on your property with the i-Tree planting calculator.
  • Learn how to prevent wildfires. Smokey Bear lives within us all! Check out our easy and fun activities to prevent wildfires when exploring Iowa’s great outdoor areas. 
  • Read a Book About Trees. Visit your local library and ask for books about trees.
  • Explore all things trees. Use the Tree Scavenger Hunt activity sheet to guide your outdoor adventures.
  • Attend an Arbor Day Event. Communities across Iowa will be celebrating Arbor Day with various events including tree plantings, nature walks, and more. Tree City USA Communities across Iowa will host events as well.


Community Forestry Grant Program

The Iowa Legislature appropriated state infrastructure funds to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR) to be used for a community-based tree planting program for derecho recovery tree planting.

The Community Forestry Grant Program provides reimbursable grants to be used to purchase and plant trees suitable to Iowa. Award recipients in counties impacted by the August 10, 2020 derecho will be awarded state infrastructure funds and bring a dollar-for-dollar local match. A total of $250,000 in funds are available. Award recipients will be reimbursed $500 to $5,000 to buy trees and materials.

The Community Forestry Grant is available to state and local governments entities, schools and volunteer organizations, and service organizations involved with local urban and community forest services, to plant trees on publicly owned lands owned by state, county, or local governments and located within the State of Iowa (DNR lands are not eligible). Qualifying public planting lands include, but are not limited to, street right-of-ways, parks, school grounds, courthouse lawns, public buildings, fairgrounds, cemeteries, libraries and trails.

Spring 2024 Award Recipients

A total of $104,214.68 was awarded to 32 projects. Award recipients include:

  • City of Ames
  • City of Ankeny
  • City of Bondurant
  • City of Clinton
  • City of Coralville
  • City of Des Moines
  • City of Ely
  • City of Grand Junction Lions Club
  • City of Huxley Tree Board
  • City of Iowa City
  • City of Jefferson Tree Committee
  • City of Johnston
  • City of Madrid
  • City of Marion
  • City of Marshalltown Trees Forever
  • City of Maxwell
  • City of Muscatine
  • City of Nevada
  • City of Pleasant Hill
  • City of Story City
  • City of Urbandale
  • City of Waukee
  • City of West Des Moines
  • Clinton CCB
  • Guthrie County Agricultural Society
  • Jones County Courthouse
  • Linn County Trails Association
  • Muscatine CCB
  • Story CCB
  • Trees Forever - Des Moines
  • Trees Forever - Iowa City
  • West Liberty High School


Celebrating Community Forestry Grant Communities

Community members planting trees

Volunteer groups along with local youth organizations and staff helped plant 47 diverse tree species in Iowa City. These new trees help to restore trees lost from the impact of emerald ash borer and increase tree diversity.  

“We were able to add trees that wouldn't have initially been in the budget and get volunteers involved in the planting,” said Tyler Baird, Superintendent of Iowa City Parks and Forestry.

Iowa City is one of 22 communities in the 97 emerald ash borer impacted counties awarded a Community Forestry Grant to buy and plant trees suitable to Iowa. Funding is provided through a grant with the USDA Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters.

Spring 2024 reimbursable grants for communities in the 27 counties impacted by the 2020 derecho are currently closed. The remaining funds from the Derecho CFGP, as well as the additional grant opportunities Trees for Kids and IRA CFGP, will be available in Fall 2024.


Trees for Schools Grant

Through the USDA Forest Service & National Association of State Foresters (NASF) 2023 Inflation Reduction Act, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received funds for tree planting grants for schools.

The Trees for Schools Grant provides reimbursable grants to purchase trees, mulch and supplemental watering when school is not in session (June – September). A total of $125,000 in funds are available. Grant funding is competitive, non-match, and awarded in amounts of up to $5,000 per project.

The Trees for Schools grants are available to eligible public and private schools and school districts to help increase and diversify tree canopy on school grounds (an approved tree species list is in the Nursery Letter), encouraging students to take an active part in this experience and increasing the benefits trees provide to students. Eligibility is determined by 25% or higher free and reduced lunches and/or schools in communities eligible through the Forest Cover and Socioeconomic Assessment Tool.

Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 22, 2024. Award recipients will be notified by Monday, April 1, 2024.

Trees for Schools Grant Application Spring 2024
Nursery Letter

Community Tree Inventories

The Iowa DNR, in cooperation with Iowa forestry professionals and USDA Forest Service, conducts inventories and completes management plans for Iowa communities of 5,000 residents or less on an ongoing basis.  

The purpose of an inventory is to gather accurate information about the composition and condition of a community’s city-owned tree resources, so that the community is able to manage its trees most effectively.

Inventory and management plan benefits include:

  • Monetary valuation of the numerous benefits that trees provide to a community
  • Creation of a long-term management plan and justification for allocation of necessary funding
  • Identification and assessment of hazard trees, which pose a potential threat to life and property
  • Determination of short and long-term management and canopy goals
  • Prioritization of community’s forestry resources, including staff time and equipment, and increased efficiency of such resources
  • Maintenance and growth of a safe, healthy, and productive urban forest

Most importantly, the information gathered through an inventory and compiled into a management plan gives a community the tools it needs to move from a reactive position of responding to storm damage, invasive pests such as emerald ash borer (EAB), and other catastrophes after they occur, to a proactive position where it can potentially minimize the harm these events are capable of doing before they happen.

For interactive and up-to-date information about the city-owned trees in your community, please click the "View My Community's Trees" bar below and follow these INSTRUCTIONS (NOTE: to view a management plan for your community, or to determine whether your community has had an inventory conducted recently, please refer to the management plans listed under the "Urban Forestry Management Plans" heading below).


View My Community's Trees

Urban Forestry Management Plans


    Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA

    The National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA program is coordinated by Iowa DNR with the goal of enhancing the forest resources of Iowa communities. The program recognizes cities and towns that have provided an outstanding example for other communities through the improvement of their forest resources. In order for a community to qualify, it must:

    • possess either a city forester or an active tree board
    • have a tree ordinance
    • spend at least $2 per capita annually for its community forestry program
    • observe Arbor Day through a community proclamation and celebration

    To fill out an application, or for more information, please visit Tree City USA

    Return completed applications to:
    Emma Hanigan
    Wallace State Office Building
    502 E. 9th Street
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0034

    Completed paper applications also require the following worksheet:
    Attachment C

    The National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA  program promotes the establishment and maintenance of healthy college and university campus forests for the benefit of current and future students and residents. The program recognizes schools that effectively manage their campus trees, develop connectivity with their communities, and engage their students in service learning opportunities. 

    Requirements are as follows:

    • Campus Tree Advisory Committee
    • Campus Tree Care Plan
    • Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures
    • Arbor Day Observance
    • Service Learning Project

    To fill out an application, or for more information, please visit Tree Campus USA.

    Return completed applications to:
    Emma Hanigan
    Wallace State Office Building
    502 E. 9th Street
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0034