Cranston Planting for the Future

Innovative Planting Project

The City of Cranston successfully implemented a Set-Back Tree Planting Project this past spring. A total of 40 home-owners participated in this inaugural project. A 10-foot shade tree- Red oak, Tulip-tree or Sugar maple- was installed on their front lawn.

Set-back planting refers to the practice of planting public trees, for the common good, beyond the public right of way and on private property. Its goal is to plant trees in larger volumes of soil where they have better conditions under which to survive, thrive and achieve their full potential. Also, home-owners are responsible for the full care and removal of the tree after it is installed. This relieves the municipality of the costly burden of the tree's upkeep and any attendant problems caused by root related sidewalk repairs. It's a win-win situation for tax-payers and one of the main reasons Cranston Mayor Allan Fung hired RITree to administer the tree project.

RITree responsibilities included screening applications, selected the trees and inspecting planting sites as well as contracting with a landscaping company to install the saplings. According to RITree's Volunteer Coordinator Robin Enos applications exceeded tree availability by a 2 to 1 ratio. "This shows Cranston residents understand the benefits of trees and want them." For their part, Cranston officials say the response was so positive that they may run the project again- with RITree's help, of course.

Set-back planting projects are not new to Rhode Island communities. Warren planted 100 trees using this approach in 2010. And South Kingstown has conducted private property plantings in each of the last three years under the guidance of David Flanders, a RI Tree Steward and former RITree Board Member.

For more information on Set-Back Tree Planting, contact RITree by email @