Creating Canopy FAQs

Creating Canopy Frequently Asked Questions

The University plans to engage the staff and faculty of Penn and UPHS in a greening effort, enabling them to plant trees in their own yards. This section includes a list of frequently asked questions relating to the Creating Canopy tree giveaway initiative.


Who can sign up to receive a free tree?

University of Pennsylvania (Penn) staff and faculty and employees of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital System (UPHS) who own a home in the city or in the surrounding suburbs are eligible to participate. 

Can I get more than one tree?

Residents can request one tree per address, to be planted on their private land. 

Where can I plant my tree?

You can plant your tree on property that is privately owned by you, or private property on which you have permission to plant.  You must plant your tree in the ground; it will not survive if planted in a container or planter.  Please make sure that you plant your tree in a space that can accommodate the tree at maturity (see space and size information provided in the Creating Canopy Tree Info PDF).   If you are interested in planting a tree on your city street in Philadelphia, please visit TreePhilly Street Trees Registration for more information. In other municipalities, contact your local office.

What size yard do I need to be able to plant a tree?

When you register to receive your tree, you will be able to choose between a large and a small tree from a selection of different species. (All trees are first-come, first-served.)  “Large” trees can grow up to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide at maturity, and “small” trees can grow up to 30 feet tall and 30 feet wide at maturity.  Make sure that you measure your planting space and register for a tree that will fit your space at the tree’s mature size.

What kind of trees will be available?

On the Creating Canopy Registration website, you will be able to pick from different species of large and small trees.  View our Tree Information Guide (PDF) for more details on each tree listed below.


Carpinus caroliniana    Hornbeam

Cercis canadensis 'Burgundy Hearts'    Eastern Redbud  'Burgundy Hearts'

Cercis canadensis  Eastern Redbud

Chionanthus virginicus  White Fringetree

Cornus kousa  Kousa Dogwood

Cornus x Rutgers Stellar Pink   Rutgers Stellar Pink Dogwood

Prunus x yedoensis  Yoshino cherry

Prunus autumnalis   Autumn flowering cherry

Cornus florida 'Cherokee Princess'  Flowering Dogwood

Viburnum prunifolium  Blackhaw Viburnum


Acer rubrum   Red Maple

Betula nigra   River Birch

Celtis occidentalis   Hackberry

Liquidambar styraciflua   American Sweetgum

Nyssa sylvatica   Black Gum

Quercus bicolor  Swamp White Oak

Quercus alba    White Oak

How do I register for a free tree?

Visit the Creating Canopy Registration website and follow the directions.

When can I pick up my tree?

Trees may be picked up on Tuesday May 5 or Thursday May 7, between 3 PM and 6 PM each day. Trees will be available for pick up rain or shine.

Where do I pick up my tree?

Creating Canopy tree pick up will be located at:

Penn Park Parking Lot

3100 Lower Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Use this PDF to view the location.

How do I get my tree home?

Each tree will be in a 3, 5 or 7 gallon plastic pot, will weigh up to 25 lbs and will stand between 3 and 6’ tall, depending on the species.  Depending on how far you have to travel, trees can be carried, but they will fit easily in the back of a truck or SUV, and can even be driven home in a small car with the top sticking out the window!

How soon after picking it up should I plant my tree in the ground?

Within 15 days of picking up your tree, it should be planted in the ground.

How much care goes into planting a new tree?

Weekly watering of 15-20 gallons at a minimum is required for the first two growing seasons. Additionally, keep the area around the tree weed free and make sure the soil around tree is not compacted by foot or vehicular traffic. Mulching the area is also helpful, but do not over mulch. On an annual basis, apply 2-4 inches of mulch evenly around the tree, being sure to keep mulch away from the tree trunk.

If I have follow up questions for planting or caring for my tree, who do I contact?

Erica Smith Fichman, TreePhilly Program Manager
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
(215) 683 0217