Mitchell’s Shade For Everyone

Community Tree Giveaway
Saturday, April 12, 2025 | Union Station
Mitchell's Shade logo featuring a tree with Mitchell's face silhouetted in the canopy while children play and read in the shade of the tree.

Mitchell’s Shade For Everyone
Community Tree Giveaway
Saturday, April 12, 2025 | Union Station


Scissortail Park’s Mitchell’s Shade tree giveaway is made possible by the vision and generous support of Melanie and John Burns. The Burns family established Mitchell’s Shade Endowment to fund an annual tree giveaway in honor and memory of their son Mitchell.

Mitchell Burns loved shade trees and parks. As a member of the Youth Leadership Exchange in his junior year of high school, Mitchell worked with local city government officials on the creation of Scissortail Park in downtown OKC. The Burns family, and indeed the world, lost Mitchell’s bright joyful light far too early. His loving family could think of no better way to honor his legacy than to establish Mitchell’s Shade, a community program designed to bring people together to celebrate life, honor a loved one, and put a bit of color, shade and oxygen back into our world through a tree giveaway at Scissortail Park.

The tree giveaway is in loving memory of John Mitchell Burns (May 10, 1996 – June 23, 2023), a lover of parks, a friend to the forgotten, a champion of all mankind.

“The true meaning of life is to plant a tree under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
 ~ Nelson Henderson

Scissortail Park extends its warmest thanks to the Burns family for their vision and support of an event that honors their son and, over time, will help create canopies of beauty and shade throughout Oklahoma City.

Please consider a donation, of any size, to Mitchell’s Shade Endowment below. Your support will further increase the number of trees  given away each year to green and shade all neighborhoods throughout Oklahoma City.

10 Tree Planting and Maintenance Tips

  • Check with local utilities before planting.
  • Plant small trees (30 feet tall or less) at least 10 feet from your home’s foundation and utility lines; plant large trees (30 to 70 feet tall) at least 15 feet away.
  • Dig your hole at least twice as wide and only just as deep as the root ball. 
  • Make sure that the root flair of the tree, or where the roots start to emerge horizontally from the trunk of the tree, is level with the native soil. The root flair can sometimes be several inches below the soil in the trees’ pot. This excess soil can be either scrapped away or the tree can be planted slightly higher.
  • Backfill the hole with native soil. Amending backfill with compost provides little help and in most soils can even harm tree growth in the long run. 
  • Water new tree well and continue to keep soil moist for several months. Keeping a newly planted tree well-watered through its first summer is especially important. You can then reduce watering to deep soaks during periods of drought. 
  • Stake new trees loosely so they can move in the wind but not blow over or uproot. Trees that can bend and flex in the wind will develop stronger trunks. 
  • Mulch around trees and remove any turf up to the dripline or edge of the tree branches growth around the tree. Use 2-3 inches of a pine bark or shredded hardwood mulch.
  • Don’t prune newly planted trees. Don’t prune or limb up branches coming from the trunk until they are at least one-half inch in diameter to maximize the tree trunk’s growth. 
  • You can fertilize your tree after one year. Don’t fertilize after planting as it can harm the tree. Newly planted trees need to focus on root growth and not foliar growth. 

Find more tree planting tips and information from our friends at Oklahoma State University Extension
Tree Planting Guide | Oklahoma State University (okstate.edu)