RAP ReLEAF Canopy Enhancement Program Plants Over 380 Trees

Maria Guenther shares her experience with the RAP ReLEAF program.

Richard Leon, City of Jacksonville Urban Forestry Manager explains how to maintain trees.

Maria Guenther, a resident of Avondale, is enjoying two new trees planted in the right-of-way in front of her home by the City of Jacksonville through its tree mitigation program.

 Maria’s new trees were part of over 380 trees in the 2019 planting through the RAP ReLEAF program. That program was designed to enhance our tree canopy by placing trees inside right-of-ways and in our parks. As they mature, they will replace trees planted during the establishment of our neighborhood and are nearing the end of their life cycle.

“We found out about it because we got a letter,” said Maria. That letter was part of the communication from Riverside Avondale Preservation to homeowners about the program.

Standing next to one of the newly planted approximately 12-foot tall trees Maria said, “I am so impressed with how tall they were and how healthy they were.”

Richard Leon, Urban Forestry Manager for the City of Jacksonville, explained why the trees were larger than she expected.

“This [size] is the sweet spot for trees,” he said. A smaller tree could be vandalized or damaged by a weed eater. A larger tree will take longer to establish.

Though homeowners could request a specific tree from a list, Leon and Kathleen McGovern, COJ City Arborist, personally determined the best tree for each location.

“I can’t say enough about this program,” said Maria. “Not only did they plant them...the fact that they are so tall and mature. I am really grateful.”