Trees & Native Habitats

Community Forestry

Program Overview

We plant trees to capture stormwater, clean the air, and beautify neighborhoods.

Sometimes, keeping our city beautiful is as simple as planting a tree. That’s why KIB coordinates a number of programs each year dedicated to planting, preserving, and educating people about trees.

Our goal is to increase tree cover in Indianapolis by planting trees in strategic locations. The trees we plant have trunks 1″ in diameter or larger at the time of planting. Together we can grow our city’s tree canopy and make Indy a better place to live, work, and play.

We plant trees all over our city. If your neighborhood is located within the City of Indianapolis, you can apply for 30+ trees to plant in your community. The City contracts with KIB to plant thousands of trees each year in the public right-of-way, generally alongside public streets, and your neighborhood can help guide where these public trees are planted.

In Indianapolis, the public right-of-way is variable—it may include the area between the street and sidewalk, the area just beyond the sidewalk, or the area nearest the street (if no sidewalks are present). KIB staff will evaluate each site to determine if it is a great location for a community tree planting, and will use our expertise, together with input from City staff, to choose a spot that minimizes future conflicts with the surrounding environment. KIB takes care of watering, mulching, and pruning the trees planted by our programs for three years after installation.

With your commitment to help watch out for the trees, KIB staff will help you with the entire process: the tools, permits, training, and more. If you’re not ready to organize a planting, join us for a volunteer day first! (Or sign up for our Adopt-A-Block program to be eligible for free trees.)

Tree Canopy Planner and Hot Spot Tool

Our urban trees and forests provide a wide range of social, economic, and environmental benefits to the Indianapolis community. In 2015, KIB completed an assessment showing that Marion County has 33% tree cover. To track tree canopy growth in the future, we developed an online map to view, plan, and grow the urban forest in Indy. Our canopy assessment data is accessible to anyone and will help KIB and our partners focus on plantable areas where we can make a great difference.

KIB developed the Tree Canopy Planner using advanced GIS data and LIDAR data (collected using lasers!) and processed by the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab (UVMSAL). The tool provides in-depth data to guide KIB’s tree planting, tree maintenance, and stormwater mitigation efforts. KIB completed the mapping project through generous funding from the Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund, to track, plan, and share our progress toward a cleaner, greener, more capable, and more beautiful city.

Click here to read our data terms of use. 

Program Details

Ready for new trees?

Follow our recommended steps below to gather all the information you need for a successful planting.

1. Get acquainted with your plantable space.

Take a walk around your neighborhood or your block (in Marion County) and take note of spaces throughout your community that would benefit from trees. Are there at least 30 spaces for trees? Thumbs up.

Share your interest in and plans for planting trees with your neighbors. Ask them what they think about trees. Hint: this part is really important!

2. Get in touch with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

We’re here to help! Let us know your interest in organizing a neighborhood tree planting. Contact us at

3. Reach out to your neighbors.

Supportive neighbors are key to a successful tree planting. Form a small group that will help you begin to organize the planting. We have “Free Trees Coming Soon” door hangers for you to spread the word.

Remember to share that you, your neighbors, and nearby business owners need to commit to tree preservation. Each tree needs 15 gallons of water every week from late March through November for the first three years. Growing our tree canopy doesn’t stop with planting the tree!

4. Follow up.

Follow up with neighbors who want to be involved. Invite them to participate by spreading the word, volunteering on planting day, or caring for a planted tree.

Compile a list of addresses where trees will be planted. You will need to include this in your Community Forestry application.

5. Fill out your application.

Need help? Contact us at

Your Commitment

Gather volunteers to help plant trees. Encourage your neighbors to be a part of the process.

KIB waters trees in the public right-of-way (like that strip of grass between your sidewalk and the street) for the first three years. We also prune trees every three years.

If your trees are in common areas like schools, churches, or homeowners’ associations, we ask that you water the trees. Once planted, you and your neighbors will be responsible for watering each tree with 15 gallons of water each week, spring through fall, for the first three years.

Help us create more tree lovers! Share your awesome experience with KIB with friends, family, and coworkers and help us speak for the trees.

KIB’s Commitment

We’ll provide guidance in tree species and plantable areas for your planting

We’ll give you large 1″ caliper trees, materials, and tools for the planting

We take care of the necessary permits and ensure all underground utilities are marked before the planting.

We’ll deliver trees and mulch to your neighborhood ahead of the planting.

And we’ll train and lead volunteers on planting day with the help of KIB’s arborists.


Featured Posts


Connect with the team at the root of our community forestry efforts.