A Look at Neighborwoods 2022

 

The last day of September and the first of October brought out sunny clear skies, and the perfect temperatures for planting trees. With over 150 volunteers for the Neighborwoods event in partnership with the Mayor’s Greening Initiative, we planted 200 trees in Southtown over three 3-hour shifts—finishing them all with an hour and a half to spare.

We enjoyed speaking with residents, not only throughout the year of planning but also during the event. We heard stories from families who have lived in Southtown for generations and could point to all the trees they’d planted on their street—towering walnuts, swaying pines, and delicate dogwoods. We heard from residents who were excited to have some shade for their family get-togethers in the front yard, and individuals who had questions about a tree in their backyard. One resident drove around the neighborhood until he found us, just to request a new tree to replace a very old one that had just been removed the week before. And another resident came out to see the trees being planted at Alexander Park and ended up helping Mayor Bliss put them in the ground.

Not everyone loves trees, however, and we can understand why. Old planting practices used to put large trees under power lines, and trees with water-seeking roots right over water pipes, causing a lot of stress to residents. Our team of ISA Certified Arborists put careful consideration into each tree and planting location, placing only small trees under power lines where they won’t grow above 25 feet tall, keeping all trees away from water mains, maintaining visibility out of driveways and intersections, and even making sure that the new tree species would interact well with any existing trees in the area. But a stressful experience with an old tree can leave a bad taste, so we made sure to honor any tree denials and relocate them to homes on a waiting list.

Our team spent months talking to residents at our Coffee Hours at Rising Grinds Café, and writing to residents to make sure that everyone was heard. Parts of Southtown have very little tree canopy, making the exposed homes and roads very hot in the summer, while other parts of the neighborhood have mature trees that are reaching the end of their life cycles. Newly planted trees will help to cool the exposed areas, and by the time the mature trees are ready to be removed, the younger ones will be ready to take over and continue providing the same benefits to residents.

We’ve loved our time working with residents in Southtown this year, and we’re looking forward to spending more time there. Our youth Green Team will be out on bikes the next few summers to water the trees, and our pruning program will come by to train the trees into healthy growing habits once they’re old enough. So whether you live in Southtown, or are just visiting, we hope you can enjoy the new, healthy tree canopy as yet another benefit of this great neighborhood.

-Becky

Becky Pobst – Urban Forest Coordinator