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Mpls property owners now have to enter lottery to buy low-cost trees

The city made the change to its tree program due to "overwhelming popularity."

Want to buy an inexpensive tree from the city of Minneapolis to plant in your yard?

You're now going to have to sign up for a lottery to do so.

On Friday, Feb. 1, the city announced in a news release that, due to "overwhelming popularity," its low-cost tree program would now be operated by lottery. 

You can enter any time now through March 13. The city says 800 property owners will be selected this year, with each getting the option to buy a 5- to 8-foot tree to plant in their yards.

Large-species shade trees are $30 each, while fruit trees and smaller species are $40 each.

As the city points out, such trees would normally set you back "about $125" at a nursery.

Minneapolis has operated the "City Trees" program since 2006, with the aim of helping the local environment.

The city says the program has provided about 14,000 trees in its 13 years. 

You can enter the lottery right here. 

A slight catch or two 

There's a couple of things to know about if you end up one of the lucky 800 property owners this year.

First, you're only allowed one tree per address (which can include residences, businesses and nonprofits).

Second, those property owners selected must pick up their trees on May 18, 19 or 20 at the Minneapolis impound lot (and you'll get a complimentary bag of much for your trouble).

Additionally (and maybe most importantly), law requires you to call Gopher State One Call — which helps oversee excavations in Minnesota — at least three days before digging. They'll let you know if you're about to hit any buried utility lines. 

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