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Sign of spring: TreePhilly begins giveaway

Some 2,500 trees will be available, for free, for residents and community groups

The buds are thickening on my lilac bush. The daffodil leaves are poking out of the ground.

And I would swear that the birdsong in my backyard is intensifying. Especially among those chatty house finches!

Why, it's almost time to plant trees. To that end, TreePhilly has officially begun its annual giveaway.

The city's parks and recreation department, in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Wells Fargo & Company, is offering Philly residents 2,500 trees this spring -- for free -- and signup has begun.

Residents can submit requests for up to two trees each (community groups can get up to ten) between now and March 31.  When you register, you get to choose when to get your tree from among nine different pick-up locations and seven different days.

But the idea isn't just to get a tree and plant it, but to care for so it survives.;

When you pick up your tree, you can see tree planting and care demonstrations. And if you do that, you'll be entered in a raffle for a free tree-watering bag.

Trees make the city prettier and keep it cooler. They've been shown to help minimize air pollution and mitigate the effects of climate change. With trees, research has shown, property values rise.

For more information, citizens can visit or call 215-683-0217.