Help us feed our browsers!
Many Dallas Zoo animals, like our elephants and giraffes, eat hundreds of pounds of “browse” (tender shoots, twigs, and green leaves of trees and shrubs) every single day. Zoo staff also use browse as a way to add enrichment to the lives of our animals.
How can you help? We’re always looking for fresh, healthy donations of recently trimmed or felled landscaping from our local community. Check out the list of accepted plants and FAQs below, and let us know if you’d like to coordinate a donation. We (and especially the animals) greatly appreciate your donations!
To coordinate a donation, please complete the form below.
We are able to pick up from the following zip codes at this time. If you live outside of these areas and are willing to deliver items for donation, we can proceed with scheduling a time, date, and location for drop-off.
OUR ANIMALS ESPECIALLY ENJOY:
- American Elm
- Bradford Pear
- Cedar Elm
THEY ALSO LIKE:
- Ash (Green, Arizona, American & Texas)
- Parasol Tree
- Hackberry (fresh only)
- Bois D’arc (thornless)
- Hibiscus (Tropical)
- Pineapple Guava
- Redbud (Chinese and Oklahoma)
- Chinese Elm
- Indian Hawthorne
- Chinese Parasol Tree
- Lacebark Elm
- Chinese Photinia
- Chinese Pistachio
- Thornless Honeylocust
- Cottonwood Maple (Silver, Sugar and Japanese)
- Tulip Tree
- Northern Catalpa
- Empress Tree Palm fronds (green only)
- Willow (Black and Weeping)
- Paper Mulberry
What kind of tree do I have?
There are many, many resources online to help identify trees. Take a read through the Texas A&M Forest Service or Arbor Day guides to help. If you’re still striking out, send us a high-resolution photo and we’ll try to help.
What size of branches will you take?
Our animals like whole branches usually five to eight feet in length. We feed our animals by giving them the whole branch and letting them tear off leaves and smaller branches for consumption. If we are coming to your property to pick up limbs, we will bring tools to cut branches smaller if needed, so feel free to leave those limbs big!
I live in Denton/Ellis/Collin/Rockwall counties, I would love to help, and have a large tree to be trimmed. Will you pick it up?
Due to time and resources, we only pick-up from neighborhoods specified above on the zip code map. We definitely welcome deliveries and can coordinate timing and drop-off locations.
How many trimmed branches will you take?
Sometimes even three or four big branches from a tree will make a great meal. If we are picking up from several locations in a day, we can pick-up smaller amounts from a few stops. If you are delivering to us, we’re happy to take even a few decent sized branches. When in doubt, send us an e-mail.
Will you trim my tree and take the branches?
Unfortunately, no. We are not licensed tree trimmers and cannot take on the liability for harming your tree or damaging your property.
I use pesticides (organic or chemical) – will you be able to feed out my tree?
We cannot take any trees or plants that have been treated with a pesticide, even an organic one, as it may be harmful to the animals.
I cut my tree last week and then saw you were looking for branches…it’s available, but dry. Do you want it?
We are looking for fresh branches with green leaves still on.
Do you pick up browse during the winter months?
Yes. We collect browse all year round, rain or shine! Our animals still enjoy eating tree limbs when the leaves have fallen off for the winter, however the branches must still be fresh cut!
Will you take the whole tree/everything I trim?
We only use branches with leafy greens and do not have a use for tree trunks or large sections of limb. If you are cutting a whole tree, we are happy to pick up as many branches with leaves as we can load, (if you’re close by, we can make a few trips) but we are not able to clean up and dispose of a whole tree and may not always be able to take everything you trim. One exception: if you’re digging out an entire tree, we are interested in large root balls.
Is there somewhere at the Zoo I can drop off my branches?
We ask that you please always contact us by completing the request for below and wait for confirmation before bringing us a delivery. We appreciate your donation and want to make sure we have staff available to unload it and want to direct you to the nearest and most convenient drop-off location.
I was told you could not use my tree donation, why?
The most common reason we cannot accept your donation is because it may be toxic to our animals. Sometimes we cannot accommodate all of the donations available — usually after big storms or around bulk-trash pickup week. Even if we cannot take your donation, we appreciate you thinking of us and encourage you to contact us again in the future about available branches.
Can I see the animals eat my donated branches?
It may not be possible for you to see your donation being enjoyed, as hundreds of Dallas Zoo animals enjoy browse in the form of enrichment and/or nutrition items and each one has specific dietary needs and restrictions. Once all donations have been collected and sorted, our zoologists determine which browse fits the needs of each animal. But please know that Zoo staff, and especially the animals, greatly appreciate your donation!