Why care about public trees?

Public trees are more than a luxury, they are valuable elements of urban infrastructure like curbs, sidewalks, water mains, fire hydrants, utility poles, sewer pipes, and so on. The services provided by green infrastructure include measurable improvements in air and water quality, diminished urban heat loads, storm water detention, public health benefits, and more.

Since “green” infrastructure grows, the benefits derived from the initial investment increase over time, delivering more services with each year that passes (to a point). On the other hand, “grey” infrastructure delivers maximum performance while new and deteriorates with age.

All infrastructure requires maintenance. Because green infrastructure gains value over time, there’s a return on investment. This is not seen as cash to spend elsewhere in the City budget, but it’s an off-set of the need to spend additional funds to achieve the same goal. Ex: Trees that provide “shade over pavement” not only moderate the urban heat island effect, but also detain significant rainfall on leaves, branches and trunk, reducing the peaks in runoff flow that hit storm sewers and, thus, offsetting funds otherwise required to install and maintain larger storm water handling systems.

Further reading:
https://www.arborday.org/trees/treefacts/ — ~1,000 words in bulleted points
http://treebenefits.com/ — calculate the value of your street tree at planting (2” diameter), and at 4” or 40” diameter

Fast FAQs
Just the basics
Info for newcomers

Organizing Concepts
What is the Urban Forest?
What is a Public Tree?
Who Cares for Public Trees?
Who Prunes Right-0f-Way Trees?
Why Care About Public Trees?
How is Public Tree Management Funded?

Prevent Damage to Soil in the Right-of-Way
Prevent Tree Root Damage in the Right-of-Way

Glossary of Terms