Volunteer Tree Planting Events

Volunteer Tree Planting Events

Mason City partners with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Trees Forever and Alliant Energy for the Trees for Kids and Branching Out Programs to plant trees increasing the community’s tree canopy. We focus on diversifying the population of trees and creating strategies to maintain and increase our urban forest throughout the community, including residential, commercial and industrial areas and neighborhoods as well as school property.

Trees supply fresh air, lower air temperature by evaporating water in their leaves, improve water quality by slowing and filtering rain water, and their roots stabilize soil and prevent erosion. These attributes provide positive, measurable impacts on the quality of life in the community.

Tree planting projects are integral to the City’s street tree planting plan which endeavors to provide a more pleasant environment and increase the tree canopy in all areas of town which will benefit the entire community.

Trees are placed to infill spots where there is no or limited landscaping, shrubs or trees. Locations to plant trees are selected based on diversity and heartiness to our North Iowa environment.

Energy Efficiency Benefits

Trees planted today offer benefits to the environment for years to come. They promote improvement of air quality through the filtering process of the leaves and provide climate control by moderating the effects of sun, wind and rain. Trees reduce storm run-off, erosion and possibility of flooding and improve water quality through purification by slowing and filtering rain water.

Street trees help moderate climate conditions. Dark surfaces such as asphalt will absorb solar heat and radiate it back to adjacent buildings. Sunlight striking light colored surfaces like concrete can reflect the solar heat to nearby buildings. Conversely, sunlight hitting tree foliage will be dissipated through evapotranspiration rather than radiate back into nearby structures, helping cool the pavement and reduce energy consumption of the nearby commercial buildings and residential properties. Planting street trees provide an effective traffic calming tool along busy roadways.

Trees planted along the street segments are situated to provide shade and windbreak for the properties assisting in energy conservation. Neighborhood residents, visitors and folks traveling through the area can enjoy the beauty and benefits of the trees.


In 2015 the City completed an inventory of trees located on City-owned properties and right-of-way. In developing planting plans, consideration is given to species/cultivar diversity, identifying species that do well in our zone; appropriateness for conditions in a given area; conformance with the City’s tree planting plan and species regulations; and anticipated availability from local nurseries.

Care and Maintenance

Care and maintenance will include watering, fertilizing, mulching and pruning as needed for raising healthy, vibrant trees. The City Street / Parks Department care for the trees in the City right-of-way and in parks as a part of their maintenance program.

Education and Advocacy

The City and its Volunteer Coordinator work with the local school districts to organize student participation and an educational presentation on planting day. The educational presentation includes the benefits of trees, the importance of planting a variety of disease resistance species and the basics in planting and care of trees.

Students learn the value of planting trees in all areas of a community – not just residential neighborhoods or parks. Students also get hands-on experience planting the trees. These events enhance classroom studies and engage student participation in community improvement.

Volunteer Involvement and Community Awareness

City Street and Park staff provides labor and equipment to dig the holes and provide mulching material for the projects. On planting day, they also provide the labor and equipment to assist the volunteers. Student volunteers of all age levels from elementary to high school are coordinated through the City’s Volunteer Coordinator. The local school districts have been fantastic partners in completing many community tree planting events as a part of their environmental stewardship curriculum.

The Trees For Kids and Branching Out projects have been tremendously successful and student, youth and adult volunteers have enjoyed participating. It is because of their help, we have been able to facilitate and provide educational opportunities on the benefits of establishing and maintaining a healthy urban forest.

Branching Out
Grant Total # # of Volunteer
Event Award Area Planted # of Trees Volunteers Youth Hours
1 Spring 2010 1,731.15 Humane Society 9 28 27 52.5
Monroe Park 7
2 Fall 2010 2,795.00 Monroe Park 13 15 14 22.5
3rd Street NW Pkg. Lot 9
3 Spring 2011 6,200.00 Fredrick Hanford Ball Diamonds 33 42 23 63
4 Fall 2011 3,195.00 East Park 13 19 16 22.5
Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery 20 48 22 55
5 Spring 2012 6,000.00 Ray Rorick Park 41 32 30 128
Georgia Hanford-Gerk Arboretum
6 Fall 2012 7,430.00 12th St. NE / NW 50 23 20 53
7 Spring 2013 9,220.00 12th St. / Kentucky 48
Georgia Hanford-Gerk Arboretum 20 24 15 120
8 Fall 2013 8,290.00 MacNider Campground
Kentucky Ave 63 21 20 73.5
Waterworks Park
9 Spring 2014 9,690.00 Norris SB Complex
19th St SE 79 33 28 198
Georgia Hanford-Gerk Arboretum
10 Fall 2014 9,995.00 Illinois Avenue 72 42 38 125
11 Spring 2015 9,989.00 Downtown Area 70 21 20 84
12 Fall 2015 9,910.00 Downtown Area II
13 Spring 2016 9,993.00 Downtown Area III 73 21 20 73.5
14 Fall 2016 8,000.00 E State/S Car/6th SE 61 21 20 63
15 Spring 2017 9,990.00 South of Downtown 66 32 24 64
16 Fall 2017 9,720.00 SE of Downtown 63 27 20 81
17 Spring 2018 10,000.00 2nd-3rd-4th-Mon-Mad 63 24 23 60
Branching Out Totals 132,148.15 873 473 380 1,338.50
% Youth
Trees for Kids/Teens
Grant Total # # of Volunteer
Event Award Area Planted # of Trees Volunteers Youth Hours
1 Spring 2015 5,000.00 Jefferson/JA/MCHS 39 38 38 101
2 Spring 2016 1,831.00 Industrial Park 25 44 42 105
3 Fall 2016 3,190.00 Hoover Elementary 28 77 70 154
4 Spring 2017 3,300.00 Harding Elementary 28 71 62 142
5 Fall 2017 4,840.00 Roosevelt Elementary 63 114 100 342
6 Spring 2018 4,999.00 Monroe/15th SW Trail 56 108 100 216
TFK Totals 23,160.00 239 452.00 412.00 1060.00
% Youth
Grand Total - All Events 155,308.15 1,112 925.00 792.00 2,398.50