Applications for the 2021 Tree City USA Recognition Are Now Open


LINCOLN, Nebraska (Sept. 8, 2021) – The Arbor Day Foundation opened applications for 2021 Tree City USA recognition.

Since 1976, the program has annually recognized cities and towns across the United States that meet program standards to ultimately encourage communities to properly manage and expand their public tree canopy. Approximately 163 million Americans live in the more than 3,600 Tree City USA communities.

"The power of trees is unmistakable in our nation’s communities and urban settings,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social and environmental benefits. Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens make smart investments in urban forests."

Trees also benefit cities, towns and communities by reducing energy costs, improving stormwater management and erosion control, increasing property values for residents, creating stronger neighborhoods and improving community pride.

To receive Tree City USA recognition, communities of any size must meet four core standards:

  1. Delegate responsibility for public trees to a tree board and/or department

  2. Establish a tree care ordinance

  3. Document a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita

  4. Hold an Arbor Day observance and proclamation

The goal behind the program standards is for communities to begin caring for city trees and enhancing urban forest management through improved ordinances, innovative programs and increased emphasis on planting and care.

Communities distinguished as a Tree City USA participant will also receive various marketing and promotional materials based on the length of their earned recognition. These include flags, street signs, hats and decals. New in 2021, Tree City USA communities will have access to an online recognized community portal to find more downloadable recognition materials, resources and opportunities to improve an urban forestry program.

The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program is made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. For more information about the Tree City USA program or to apply, visit Applications are available through the end of the year depending on the state.