Planting Captain logo


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

How Captains and Root Nashville will work together

Neighborhood Planting Captains will be awarded 50 1”-caliper trees (trees that are 1” in diameter and already at least six feet tall) to greenify their neighborhood. A Captain’s job is to recruit neighbors and gather information about where these trees will be planted. Pro tip: these tasks can be completed at home, and/or while keeping a safe social distance. Root Nashville will work with Captains on logistics and planting day support.

Applications for the first round of Captains closed May 8. Stay tuned for other opportunities to come.


Applicants from Root Nashville’s impact areas of North Nashville, South Nashville, and Madison will receive priority acceptance into the program for free trees (see map below), as well as residents from neighborhoods in Davidson County impacted by the recent tornado.

Even if you do not live in one of these areas, you can still apply to become a Captain and work with Root Nashville to organize a large-scale planting in your neighborhood. We will ask for your help in fundraising for the cost of trees.

map of the impact area of the March 2 tornado
Root Nashville impact areas (tornado-affected neighborhoods also eligible for free trees)


The application window for this round of Captains is currently closed. Other opportunities will be available soon through a neighborhood-fundraising route. Stay tuned and make sure you are subscribed to the Root Nashville newsletter for updated information.

Ready to get involved? Applications will be accepted through the close of the business day on Friday, May 8. Root Nashville will respond to all applicants by Monday, May 18. Accepted applicants into the Neighborhood Planting Captain have until the end of July to submit all necessary information to Root Nashville. See timeline and more information in the Neighborhood Planting Captain Handbook.

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

Champion your own neck of the woods! Captains accepted into the program will: get to know your neighbors and increase a sense of community, improve public health and environmental quality, stay safely active and engaged in the community, earn a $150 stipend for successful organizing (applicable to Captains in areas eligible for free trees), and, of course, increase your neighborhood’s tree canopy.

Applications for the first round of Captains were due May 8, and Root Nashville will respond to all applicants by May 18 at the latest with follow-up information.

Did you miss the application window, but still interested in becoming a Captain? Stay tuned for more information about how you can still be involved by going the neighborhood fundraising route.


Applications are currently closed, but there are still opportunities to participate by fundraising in your neighborhood. Raise enough to cover the cost of the trees, and Root Nashville will still provide all the same support: ordering and delivering trees, and leading the planting day. Trees are $150 each, and each planting will need at least 20 trees, bringing the total to at least $3,000 for Captains to raise. Plantings are capped at 50 trees (so the Captain and neighborhood would need to raise a total of $7,500 max) for ease of transportation and delivery.

Stay tuned over the summer for more information.

Another idea to consider: would your employer consider sponsoring your neighborhood planting? Contact us if you’d like to discuss this idea.

Applications are currently closed, but stay tuned for future opportunities. We would love to work with your church or school!

Energy, excitement, and a desire to improve your neighborhood. You do not need to be a tree expert in order to organize a planting. We just ask for your enthusiasm, organization ability, and neighborly connections! Whenever needed, the Root Nashville team is also always here to answer any questions you might have.

Root Nashville’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. Click here to learn more about impact areas and the origins of the Root Nashville campaign in our first annual report.

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.

If you are interested in organizing a large-scale planting of big 1”-caliper trees, applying for this Root Nashville Neighborhood Planting Captain program is the way to go. However, if this program isn’t the best fit for you, partner organizations offer other replanting opportunities.

In response to the tornado, the Nashville Tree Foundation launched ReLeaf 2020, a replanting program which will include free container tree giveaways in September in affected neighborhoods. Keep an eye on their website for more information. This is a great option if you are interested in free 3-gallon container trees available for pickup. The Nashville Tree Foundation will also organize plantings in each tornado-affected community in the fall.

In addition, the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps will offer a tornado program called Operation Overstory. Operation Overstory allows those affected by the storm of 2020 to submit a request to receive a large canopy tree species for free through their Farm-to-Yard tree sale program. For those not impacted by the storm, their tree sale is an alternative way to receive a tree conveniently delivered to your house. These trees also count towards the Root Nashville citywide goal of planting 500,000 trees by 2050.

Root Nashville is a long-term campaign, and there is always another planting season around the corner. We are happy to work with you when you are ready, and we understand that in some neighborhoods, immediate relief efforts are still underway.

Yes! If you work for a company or organization that might sponsor your participation as a Captain, reach out to us to discuss the possibility ( We’d be happy to support your request and provide any information you need to make the ask.

Feel free to reach out to for general questions. You can also email Root Nashville Campaign Manager Meg Morgan at, or Root Nashville Program Coordinator Chandler Kucera at


Tree Species Catalog

Learn more about the available tree types.

Benefits of Trees

This one-pager can be used for recruiting neighbors.

Organization Template

Captains: download this template to stay organized.