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Support The Zoo :: Browse Program: Donating trees for animals

Browse Program: Donating trees for animals


Dallas Zoo animals eat hundreds of pounds of “browse” (tender shoots, twigs, and green leaves of trees and shrubs) every single day.

We collect neighborhood browse as an animal nutritional supplement and way to add enrichment to the lives of our animals. Collecting discarded browse from the local neighborhoods keeps those limbs and branches out of the landfill and helps out the Zoo in many, many ways. 

Many of the Zoo’s animals will benefit from your donation. It’s hard to tell which animal will specifically appreciate your donation (some animals have special diets and some trees can be harder on digestive systems for certain animals), but know that your donation will DEFINITELY be enjoyed by an animal somewhere in our 106-acre Zoo.

We greatly appreciate donations of your recently trimmed or felled landscaping to provide nutrition and enrichment to hundreds of Dallas Zoo’s herbivores and omnivores.

To coordinate a donation, please email


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Photinia American Elm Mulberry
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Pecan Bradford Pear Cedar Elm


They also like:

 Acacia  Ash  Banana
 Birch  Bois D’arc (thornless)   Bottlebrush
 Box Elder  Chinese Pistachio  Cottonwood
 Dogwood  Empress Tree   Fig
 Grapevine  Hackberry (fresh only)  Honeylocust
 Honeysuckle  Indian Hawthorne  Loquat
 Magnolia  Maple (silver, sugar, and Japanese)  Mimosa
 Palm fronds (green  only)  Parasol Tree  Pear
 Redbud (Chinese)  Silverberry  Sweetgum
 Sycamore  Willow  



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 within five miles of the Zoo. 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 quite 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 email 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?

Donated branches have to be sorted, cleaned and delivered to the appropriate section of the Zoo. This means you will likely not be able to see your donation appreciated by the Zoo’s animals. Know that Zoo staff and especially the animals appreciate your donation.