Tucson Electric Power has a new partner in its Trees for You program, which provides shade trees to TEP customers at reduced prices.
Local wholesale grower Civano Nursery will now provide trees for the initiative, which relaunched last week.
This marks the end of a 22-year partnership with Trees for Tucson, operated by local nonprofit Tucson Clean and Beautiful.
Changes include a price drop from $8 to $5 per 5-gallon tree, but trees will no longer be delivered to TEP customers’ homes. Instead, those who have ordered trees through the utility’s website will have to pick them up from one of four designated garden centers.
“It’s a new concept. Trees for Tucson have done an admirable job for the last 20 years or so, but it’s becoming very expensive to deliver a tree to somebody’s house,” says Civano Nursery owner and founder Les Shipley.
“This new concept might be a little inconvenient, but it might not be. You might be passing by the garden center,” Shipley says, and clients choose the pickup location from among the four. Delivery may be available from the individual centers unrelated to the TEP program, but would mean additional cost. At Civano, for example, delivery is $35 for any number of trees, and planting services are $22 per tree. Planting has never before been included in the Trees for You program.
Other differences include a tree-care hot line that Civano will provide for the lifetime of the tree. TEP spokesperson Joe Barrios says trees will also be available to pick up more quickly, within a week, and there will be more varieties.
Shipley says six types are available now, but plans to make that 16 by mid-May. Trees will still be drought-resistant or low-water use, must be planted within 15 feet of an east-, west-, or south-facing wall, and are limited to three per year through the TEP program.
Trees for Tucson still offers trees for delivery independently, but without benefit from TEP. Cost includes delivery but not planting services, and are $20 for desert shade trees and $25 for fruit-bearing trees.