On Saturday, October 17th, Seattle celebrated its 30th year as a Tree City USA on our local Arbor Day.
The national and state official Arbor Days are in April, but that’s actually not a good time of year to be planting trees in this part of the world. The tree doesn’t have enough time to send out enough roots to get it through a warm and mostly dry summer. Trees planted in spring require a lot of extra care, which isn’t feasible in large numbers in parks and community gardens.
For the last few national Arbor Day celebrations in Seattle the parks department has had volunteers clearing out English ivy and other invasive species that choke and kill otherwise healthy adult trees. Preserving existing trees is just as important as planting new ones.
On Saturday the Commissioner of Public Lands presented Mayor Ed Murray with Seattle’s 30th Tree City recognition at a tree planting ceremony. Seattle also earned its 19th Tree City Growth Award, which is a recognition granted to Tree Cities with a higher level of tree care.
There are 86 Tree Cities in Washington State, and of them, only Ellensburg and Longview have had the status longer than Seattle.
Seattle is home to more than 4 million trees, with 23% tree canopy coverage. Estimated replacement value of our trees is $5 billion. The goal is to reach 30% tree canopy coverage by the year 2037.
You can read more about the Tree City USA program on the Arbor Day Foundation website.