Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program: Community Tree Planting Projects on Public Land

Tennessee Department of Agriculture

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Grant amount: Up to US $20,000

Anticipated deadline: Jun 30, 2020 2:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Tennessee

Location of residency: Tennessee

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The goal of the Urban & Community Forestry Program is to establish Urban & Community Forestry programs in communities in Tennessee and assist existing programs in becoming sustainable. TAEP Community Tree Plantings will support this in response to Tennessee communities wanting to increase awareness and garner the benefits of trees in the urban landscape.

The TAEP (Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program) grant fund for community tree planting is provided by the 2008 State Legislature to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The community tree planting component of TAEP will be administered by the Department of Agriculture Forestry Division.

Goal and Objective

The goal of TAEP community tree planting grant is to increase the tree resource base in cities and towns across the State of Tennessee. It is NOT to provide beautification. Trees are work horses for our communities, providing energy savings through shading, storm water mitigation, rain interception, and air quality improvement through filtration and absorption. These are direct cost saving benefits to communities. Beautification should not be used as an objective for a TAEP tree planting project. 

Definition of Tree and Shrub

Tree - a woody plant with a single trunk, or multiple trunks capable of growing to a height of 15 feet or more. 

Shrub - a woody plant with a multiple stem growing to a height of up to 15 feet.

TAEP grants are for the planting of trees that will mature at a height of at least 20 feet or more. 

Technical Assistance

Potential grantees are encouraged to seek assistance in developing their grant proposals. Sources of assistance include Division of Forestry personnel, arborists, nurserymen, horticulturists, consulting urban foresters, landscape architects and other specialists in related fields. If the project is going to involve a specialist, please include a letter from him/her to prove they are aware of their commitment

Tree Labels

With the growth of the arboretum program administered by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council (TUFC), the urban staff is accepting grant proposals for the purchase of tree labels for an arboretum or outdoor classroom.

Planting Locations

The intent of TAEP grant funds is to increase tree canopy on public land but trees can be planted elsewhere. TAEP funds can be used to plant on Private Non-Profit lands that has public access. Special consideration is also given toward private property that is frequently used for community events. Riparian areas are also acceptable planting locations for TAEP funds.

Riparian Buffer

A riparian buffer is the transitional area between land and water that contains a mix of trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers. This vegetated strip of land “buffers” a waterway from human impacts. The function of a riparian buffer is to stabilize the banks of a waterway, create habitat, filter stormwater pollutants, and provide flood storage.

The urban staff in an effort to mitigate stormwater, improve terrestrial and aquatic life, stabilize the banks of waterways, and improve water quality is accepting grant proposals to plant trees in riparian buffers on public and private lands. Eligible grantees remain cities & towns, Non-Profits, and institutions of higher learning. A riparian buffer consists of an area within a 35 foot zone extending out from the bank of a waterway. Individual landowners do not qualify for this program.

The Tennessee Urban Riparian Buffer Program began with a federal grant from the USDA Forest Service to reclaim and protect eight defined watersheds within Davidson County. Over a three year span almost 28,000 trees were planted with nearly 2,800 volunteers within 30,451 feet of buffer along waterways. At the conclusion of the project the Tennessee Urban Riparian Buffer Handbook was produced. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible Grantees: Grants may be awarded to:
    • cities and towns; 
    • other local units of government;
    • approved non-profit organizations such as neighborhood associations, civic groups, and community volunteer tree groups; and 
    • Elementary and secondary educational institutions.
  • The following are eligible expenses for grant and match:
    • cost of trees;
    • mulch;
    • shipping;
    • contracted labor to plant trees;
    • acknowledgement sign;
    • gator bags; and
    • tree labels.
  • Matching Funds: TAEP community tree planting grants require a match equal to the grant (50-50 match). 


  • Beautification should not be used as an objective for a TAEP tree planting project. 
  • Any tree with a mature height below 20 feet is not eligible for funding.
  • Certain species of trees will not be funded: 
    • Green & White Ash- Emerald Ash Borer;
    • Black Walnut- Thousand Cankers Disease;
    • Leyland Cypress- seridium canker;
    • Hemlock- Hemlock Woolly Adelgid;
    • American Elm- The threat of Dutch Elm Disease (resistant varieties can be used);
    • Silver Maple- undesirable urban species; nor
    • Bradford Pear- undesirable urban species.