Funding Available for Rural and Urban Tree Planting

Funding Available for Rural and Urban Tree Planting

April 24, 2009

Note: This article from the Conservation Tree Initiative Partnership is part of an effort to encourage windbreak plantings in Nebraska. The group's goal is to plant 1.7 million trees annually — one for every Nebraska citizen.

Numerous cost-share programs are available for tree and shrub planting in rural and urban settings, says Dennis Adams, forester with the Nebraska Forest Service.

Programs for Rural Areas

In rural areas, the most common programs offering technical and financial assistance are the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Continuous Conservation Reserve Program, natural resources district programs.

Examples of other programs offering assistance for tree and shrub planting in rural areas include:


  • The Wetlands Reserve Program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. In some locations, planting hardwood trees and shrubs in upland areas near the actual wetland can diversify the landscape and offer additional wildlife habitat.


  • The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, also offered by NRCS. It offers landowners payments for developing wildlife habitat in areas such as pivot corners and irregular areas.


  • The Continuous Conservation Reserve Program offers cost share funds for planting riparian forest buffers. Trees planted along streams offer wildlife or aquatic habitat, and improve water quality by shading and cooling the water.


  • The Conservation Security Program, when it is announced by USDA, also may provide some assistance for planting trees and shrubs.


  • The Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever organizations have a "Corners for Wildlife" program for establishing permanent wildlife habitat in pivot corners. From 1987 to 2007, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have helped landowners' plant more than 4.5 million trees and shrubs in Nebraska.

Programs for Urban Areas In urban areas, there are opportunities for communities or neighborhoods to plant more trees.

"Most individual homeowners will need to seek the help of a commercial nursery," said Adams. Some examples of urban possibilities are:


  • Local programs may vary from natural resources district to natural resources district. Some urban planting programs do not involve the NRD.


  • The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum administers funds for several tree planting programs. Check their Web site at One current program is called Trees for Nebraska Towns (TNT). Trees must be for public benefit but can be planted on public land, private land or common areas. The Arboretum also manages money from the Nebraska Department of Roads for the Community Enhancement Program. Its purpose is to help provide for plantings near transportation corridors like streets, trails, etc;


  • A new program is funded by the Nebraska Department of Roads and administered by the Nebraska Forest Service. Shade our Streets provides for tree planting along streets.


  • Many private foundations also fund tree planting projects and some are listed on the Nebraska Forest Service Web site at

"There are many types of cost-share programs available, and there is free technical assistance from foresters working with NRDs, the NRCS, or the Nebraska Forest Service," Adams said. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, he said. The next best time is today. Further information or assistance with planning and design of a windbreak is available at any Natural Resources District or USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office.

Pat McGrane
NRCS Specialist