How Can I Help?

ReLeaf Cedar Rapids

How Can I Help?

Become a "Tree Bud" - Water Your Tree 
stock watering_wbTrees need a lot of water in the first two years of life. The City, contractors, and Trees Forever’s Growing Futures Program waters newly planted trees in the right-of-way, but you can help our trees in the hot, dry months by volunteering to water them. Use a bucket or garden hose to fill the watering bag on the young tree each week if there has not been an inch of rain in a week.

Signs of drought stress include wilting or browning leaves, yellowing leaves, early leaf drop starting at the tips of branches and tree top.

TREE BUD PROGRAMReLeaf Tree Bud - A cartoon tree holding a watering can
Cedar Rapids residents with homes or businesses where trees have been planted in the City’s right-of-way can join the ReLeaf effort by volunteering to become a “Tree Bud.” As a Tree Bud, a resident or business owner agrees to fill a tree’s water bag near their home or business every 7-10 days, unless we receive an inch of rain in that time period. When the watering crew comes by to water the trees, they will see the sticker and will know to bypass the trees that are being watered by the Tree Bud. The goal is to speed up the watering process for trees throughout the city while also reducing the possibility of trees being over-watered if an individual is already watering the trees.

Those interested in becoming a “Tree Bud” can request a sticker for a tree watering bag by calling the City’s Forestry Department at 319-286-5747 or by stopping by the Parks and Recreation Office at 500 15th Avenue SE. Starting July 5, 2023, stickers will also be available from the crews watering trees along city streets, as well as at the Northwest Recreation Center at 1340 11th Street NW and through the Rollin’ RecMobile. Go to to learn when it will be at a park near you.

Estimated cost for filling a tree’s water bag once a week for 30 weeks is $2.14. This assumes Cedar Rapids’ current rate of $.00356 per gallon of water multiplied by 20 gallons per weekly fill of the water bag for 30 weeks spring through fall.

tree dollarReLeaf Cedar Rapids is an ambitious and aggressive 10-year plan that requires significant human and financial resources to implement fully. The average annual cost per year to implement the ReLeaf Cedar Rapids plan is $3.7 million for a total of $37 million.

The City of Cedar Rapids has committed $1 million dollars per year for the next 10 years to the effort. The remaining $27 million will be raised through additional public and private sources. Trees Forever, in partnership with the City, is working to raise private funds through a campaign steering committee led by co-chairs John and Dyan Smith and Mary Quass.

We are grateful to the numerous corporate and individual donors who rushed to offer financial assistance after the storm. Their investments allowed us to lay the groundwork for this historic recovery plan that will benefit countless residents and visitors for generations to come.

You are invited to make a personal or corporate contribution to ReLeaf Cedar Rapids. For more information visit

Become a Tree Keeper
Trees Forever TreeKeepers program is designed for people who want to actively participate in planting trees in their neighborhood and community. Gain hands-on experience caring for street trees and park trees and protect community trees as a tree ambassador. Find more information at Trees Forever. 

Plant in Your Right-of-Way
Cedar Rapids residents can plant in the right-of-way in front of their property with permit approval. Please check our planting requirements and fill out the required permit.

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