March 29, 2021
Imagine Grinnell and its 1000+ Trees Grinnell project is the most recent recipient of funds from Alliant Energy and Trees Forever Branching Out Grant. The grant totals $10,000 to go towards planting trees in the third and fourth wards of Grinnell. Property owners in the third and fourth wards (south of Highway 6) who are interested in receiving a free tree are encouraged to reach out to the 1000+ Trees Grinnell committee by calling 641-236-5518, ext. 109 or emailing
Grinnell lost nearly 40% of the city canopy due to the emerald ash borer infestation from the past eight years and the August 10, 2020 derecho. The third and fourth wards of Grinnell had fewer trees to begin with and thus are the first areas to be addressed by the 1000+ Trees committee. Trees are available for free to property owners but are specifically shade trees and low growing trees for planting under power lines. Trees are available on a first come, first serve basis. Once supply has been depleted, interested property owners will be placed on a contact list for the next round of ordering.
“We’re excited to be offering a variety of free trees for the areas in town that had the worst storm and ash bore damage,” says Imagine Grinnell Board Chair Tim Ellsworth. “We’ve worked hard with the city as storm clean-up continues and they identify and map all the damaged and lost trees. Trees help save energy and are a beauty for years to come. 1000+Trees is actively raising money and applying for grants to help fund free and discounted shade, low-growing fruit and nut trees for all areas of Grinnell.”
The attached map shows the hardest hit areas in wards 3 and 4. Red blocks are particularly identified for plantings, with 65 trees available to be planted in these areas. Yellow and gray blocks are also eligible through grant money from 100+ People Who Care, with 65 free trees available to be reserved by property owners.
Property owners will have the opportunity to receive a low growing tree if they wish to plant in the right of way under a power line. 1000+ Trees has ordered an assortment of shade trees that are compatible with the Iowa environment and are able to serve a variety of needs of property owners. While this particular order features shade and low growing trees, future orders will include fruit and nut trees.
Property owners will be encouraged to plant trees on their property but are able to plant them in the right of way. For trees being planted in the right of way, homeowners need to complete the following steps in preparation for the planting:
● Complete a permit with the city of Grinnell, available online at, under Building & Planning or call (641) 236-2600 for more information. Permits do not need to be completed for trees planted on homeowner’s property in areas not in the right of way.
● Contact Iowa One Call to locate the existing utilities with a 20’ radius of planting location: 1-800-292-8989.
● Be prepared to care for the tree for the first few years, including frequent watering and mulching.
Trees will be delivered at the end of April for planting in early and mid-May. 1000+ Trees Grinnell is seeking volunteers to join the TreeCorps to assist the planting and maintenance of trees. The TreeCorps is a volunteer group dedicated to helping plant and maintain the newly planted trees. The TreeCorps will provide training and knowledge needed to fully participate. Those interested in joining the TreeCorps or learning more can visit i
1000+ Trees Grinnell will be placing further orders later this year and in 2022. Grinnellians are able to purchase and plant a tree in the right of way on their own but should consult the City’s Recommended Tree List (available at for approved trees.
The 1000+ Trees steering committee continues to organize a plan to systematically replant and support new trees in Grinnell. If you would like to donate to the initiative, please go to the Imagine Grinnell website,, and designate 1000+ Trees in the drop down option. Follow Imagine Grinnell’s Facebook page and website for information on upcoming opportunities to volunteer. 1000+ Trees plans to coordinate with the City of Grinnell, Grinnell College, and other interested parties in the process of re-treeing Grinnell.