Planting Captain logo

Trees for Neighborhood Yards

Love trees, and want to take on-the-ground action in your own neighborhood? Roll up your sleeves and become a Neighborhood Planting Captain.

This program is operated by the Cumberland River Compact, the lead organization in the Root Nashville campaign

How Captains and the Cumberland River Compact will work together

Neighborhood Planting Captains will be awarded approx. 50 1”-caliper trees (trees that are 1” in diameter and usually at least six feet tall) to greenify their neighborhood. A Captain’s job is to spread the word in the neighborhood about the opportunity: through social media, flyers (custom designs provided), your neighborhood association, door-to-door canvassing, or any other creative method. The Cumberland River Compact staff tree team will work with Captains on logistics and planting day support. You don’t need to be a tree expert! We are looking for applicants who are enthusiastic and willing to reach out to their neighbors.


South Nashville street

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Check out the video above to hear from past Neighborhood Planting Captains about their experience. Past Captains Marie, Will, De’Etra, Jackie, Ebony, and Kimberly also shared their experiences in the Q&As linked. Special thanks to former AmeriCorps member Tyrah Cobb-Davis for creating the video.

Madison, Tennessee trees


Applicants from the Root Nashville campaign’s impact areas of North Nashville, South Nashville, and Madison will receive priority acceptance into the program for free trees, as well as residents from neighborhoods in Davidson County impacted by the recent tornado. We are also applying an environmental justice framework to applicants for the next planting season (October 2022-March 2023) that will expand the areas considered to be high-priority for trees. Some accepted Captains in high-priority areas will be eligible for a stipend or neighborhood incentive at the conclusion of their project.

Even if you do not live in a high-priority area, you can still apply to become a Captain and work with the Cumberland River Compact tree team to organize a large-scale planting in your neighborhood. 

If you are interested, we encourage you to apply! We are scaling this project up and will be working with more Neighborhood Planting Captains than ever.


Ready to get involved? Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and a Cumberland River Compact staff tree team member will reach out to you within a few weeks after you’ve submitted. 

Want to learn more?

Check out the Neighborhood Planting Captain Handbook with plenty of detailed information about the program, strategies for recruiting neighbors, ideas for discovering the best yard locations for planting, and more.

FAQs & other details

Take pride in where you live by planting trees. Captains accepted into the program will: get to know your neighbors and increase a sense of community, improve public health and environmental quality, stay active and engaged in the community, and, of course, increase your neighborhood’s tree canopy. Captains can certainly include themselves in their neighborhood’s tree recruiting, and can sign up for up to 3 trees for their own yards.

Applicants are asked to complete a short form about their neighborhood and interest in the program. Before being accepted, a Root Nashville team member will schedule a brief introductory phone call with applicants — to explain the program in more detail and answer any potential questions. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Some neighborhoods will receive priority acceptance and program resources. But we are scaling this program up and will be working with more Captains than ever. Go ahead and apply if you are interested!

This Tree Species Catalog is an example of the types of trees offered each season. This link shows trees being planted Jan-March 2022, and 5 new options will be offered for the next planting season, with a new corresponding catalog coming soon.

Yes! Contact us at to start the conversation.

Energy, excitement, and a desire to improve your neighborhood. You do not need to be a tree expert in order to get the word out about this program. We just ask for your enthusiasm, organization ability, and neighborly connections! Whenever needed, the Cumberland River Compact tree team is also always here to answer any questions you might have.

The Root Nashville campaign’s impact areas were determined using key data points: rates of hospitalization due to respiratory illness, number of impaired/polluted streams, average daytime temperature, percentage of vulnerable population, and rates of current canopy coverage. This data revealed that North Nashville, South Nashville, and Madison will significantly benefit from additional trees. Learn more about our impact areas.

Nashville suffered significant damage from the recent devastating tornado, including our tree canopy. Replanting is critical to help restore the lost benefits. See the Benefits of Trees one-pager to learn more about how trees are connected to livability and quality of life.

The heart of the Root Nashville campaign is creating an equitable canopy distribution. Focusing on impact areas and neighborhoods impacted by the tornado will allow us to do that.

We will also be applying a new environmental justice framework to applicants beginning in March 2022.

Feel free to reach out to for general questions.