Every Saturday beginning September 24th-October 29th, the Southwest Partnership’s Safe, Vibrant, and Walkable Streets Committee will be planting trees across the Southwest Partnership communities filling in tree pits and gaps in the tree canopy, digging, lifting, burying, and watering–but why?
Trees make awesome, vibrant neighborhoods!
Trees, and especially street trees planted in front of homes, businesses, churches, and other buildings in tree pits on the public sidewalk, do a lot for neighborhoods–making them healthier, safer, cooler, and more beautiful. They also do a lot for residents including, decreasing utility bills and increasing property values!
Trees take in carbon dioxide and put out oxygen, making the air cleaner and easier to breath and filtering pollutants in the air that cause conditions like asthma. As the number of trees in a neighborhood increases the number of children with asthma decreases. Trees make the water in a neighborhood healthier too–reducing the amount of polluted water that runs into the Chesapeake Bay.
Trees produce shade in the summer months–cooling down hot streets and sidewalks lowering cooling costs for homeowners and businesses.
Studies show that neighborhoods with well maintained trees, vegetation, parks, and other green spaces have lower rates of violent and property crime, residents feel safer and prouder of their neighborhoods when streets, blocks, and lots are cleaner and greener. All of these benefits mean that trees increase the value of homes and businesses in neighborhoods!
Newly planted trees don’t cause many of the problems people think they do!
Sometimes street trees get a bad reputation–for hosting messy birds and other unsavory wildlife, busting up sidewalks and cracking pipes, providing coverage for criminals, and dropping leaves on sidewalks.
Although in the past city street tree planters didn’t know a lot about what worked in the city for trees, planting trees that grew too big and broke up surrounding sidewalks with their roots, we know a lot more now! The street trees that are being planted today in Baltimore are carefully chosen to fit in the tree pits that have been opened for them and have deep roots that will save our sidewalks even as the trees grow. Pipes are also safe from tree roots–roots cannot break through intact pipes.
A bigger problem is sometimes trees, when they aren’t taken care of, can hurt a neighborhood. Limbs and branches can make it hard to use sidewalks, dead trees take away from a street’s shade and beauty, and overgrown greenery can be an unsafe place to hide.
Luckily, there’s a lot we can do to make sure trees grown healthy and strong including watering new trees regularly (baby trees need 10 gallons of water a week), cleaning trash out of tree pits, and reporting trees that are dead, dying, or need to be pruned. Taking care of trees makes sure that we get all of the good things trees bring.
How can you help:
- Plant a tree! Join the Southwest Partnership between 10am and 1pm every Saturday from September 24th through October 29th to plant! No previous experience necessary, but please wear closed toe shoes. For more information about where to meet check out calendar: southwestpartnershipbaltimore.org/events, call 667-210-2105, or email Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Take care of a tree! Is there a tree along your block that needs some TLC? New trees don’t need much—just 10 gallons of water a week and a cleanup of trash around them. Let us know if you need help taking care of a tree. If you’re interested in more in depth tree-care, the Baltimore Tree Trust offers TreeKeeper classes in identifying, planting, and caring for street trees that will allow you to lead plantings and prune trees.
- Report a tree! Does a tree need pruning? Is a tree dead or dying? Are branches getting in the way of the sidewalk? Is a tree making your neighborhood unsafe? Let Baltimore City know by calling 311, or submitting a request online or using the app. When submitting a request make sure to write down the Customer Service Request number, and let us know so we can help follow up.
Street Tree Resources
http://treebaltimore.org/: Learn more about Baltimore City’s tree planting efforts, the benefits of trees for a city, how to request a tree, and notable trees in the city.
https://depts.washington.edu/hhwb/Thm_Crime.html: Review information about the role that trees and vegetation play in a neighborhood’s safety and community members’ sense of security.
http://baltimoretreetrust.org/treekeepers: Sign up for free classes that will teach you how to plant and care for neighborhood trees.
https://www.arborday.org/trees/benefits.cfm: Learn more about the benefits of trees.