Planting Trees: A Smart Thing to Do

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Urban trees aren't just frivolous ornamentation. According to a recent study by the Nature Conservancy, they're actually a wise investment and are one of the most effective strategies that can be used to reduce particulate matter emissions (see graphic).  Co-author of the Nature Conservancy report, Rob McDonald, concludes: "we should start thinking of trees as a crucial part of our public-health infrastructure.”

RSC member Melissa Grieco writes below about the benefits of planting the right tree in the right place.

The Right Tree in the Right Place

By Melissa Grieco, Rye Sustainability Committee

Planting ‘the right tree in the right place’ can help minimize any potential danger or inconveniences that mature trees may pose. In addition, proper tree care and maintenance, including regular pruning, are vital to promoting tree health and safe growth. Below is a list of important factors to consider before breaking ground:

  • Height: Will the tree bump into anything when it is fully grown or will it pose a potential hazard to wires or residences once it is mature?
  • Canopy spread: How wide will the tree grow? Again, will its mature canopy eventually cause undesirable proximity to wires or a building or residence?
  • Type: Is the tree deciduous or coniferous? Will it lose its leaves in the winter?
  • Form/Shape: A columnar tree will grow in less space. Round and V-Shaped species provide the most shade.
  • Growth Rate: How long will it take for your tree to reach its full height? Slow growing species typically live longer than fast growing species.
  • Invasive vs. Native: Is the tree species native to this region? Invasive trees tend to grow quickly with a shallow root system causing them to be more prone to blow-downs. In addition, native species are the optimum choice for wildlife habitat restoration or enhancement.
  • Care and Maintenance: What are the tree’s soil, sun, and moisture requirements? How often should the tree be pruned to ensure safe growth?
  • Fruit: Who wants messy droppings on busy sidewalks or driveways?

Unfortunately, we lose trees every year and at an alarming rate here in Rye. Several factors are contributing to the accelerated loss of trees:

  1. New development and construction.
  2. Extreme weather events.
  3. Street trees that were planted decades ago are now succumbing to old age and disease.
  4. Residents, fearing that trees will fall during the next extreme weather event, are intentionally removing trees.

The Rye Tree Fund: Branching Out For Rye

In order to help offset tree losses while preserving these critically important features of our beautiful neighborhoods, Rye Sustainability Committee and the Conservation Commission/Advisory Council have launched a municipal tree planting fund named Branching Out for Rye. For further information please visit RSC's Tree Fund page and consider making a donation to the Tree Fund. Any amount is welcome!