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Tree planting organization helps residents beautify

The Castro and surrounding blocks will soon be leafier. Friends of the Urban Forest, a non-profit organization that helps individuals and neighborhood groups plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens throughout San Francisco, has planned a summer tree planting in the Castro.

FUF plants trees in neighborhoods in which property owners have requested trees for at least 25 properties. A "Tree Package" includes a tree, permit processing, site preparation including concrete removal, and two post-planting tree care visits. Most of the costs are covered by grants, government funding and donations; tree recipients pay a fee of only $135 per Tree Package, which includes a one-year FUF membership.

"Tree planting brings neighbors together," said FUF Community Outreach Coordinator Doug Lybeck. "We love to help neighborhood residents transform and improve their blocks."

Anyone interested in receiving a tree must sign up by the end of May. Contact Doug Lybeck at dougly@fuf.net or 415-268-0773, or sign up at www.fuf.net/programs-services/planting/neighborhood-tree-planting/.

Tree plantings are community events that involve the tree recipients, volunteer tree planters, and FUF staff working side-by-side. They last from 9:00 a.m. to about 1:00 p.m. and include a potluck lunch.

Since 1981, FUF has planted more than 47,000 trees, totaling 43% of San Francisco's street tree canopy. Urban trees clean the air, reduce storm-water runoff, provide habitat for wildlife, and beautify neighborhoods.

For more information about Friends of the Urban Forest, see www.fuf.net.