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Posts tagged ‘trees’

Caring for SLC’s Trees

Salt Lake City’s urban forest suffered notable damage in the September 8 wind storm. The carefully maintained forest consists of nearly 85,000 public trees. 

Sadly, the City lost approximately 1,500 public trees from city parks, the cemetery, park strips, and medians. We estimate that another 3,000 public trees were damaged and are in need of repair– on top of the private trees from yards that were lost or damaged.

This is certainly a sad occurrence for our environment and community– especially if you lost a beloved tree.

However, as Urban Forester Tony Gliot describes in the video below, storms are a natural part of our ecosystem and we have the opportunity to come together and re-plant many of these trees that were lost.

Salt Lake City’s Urban Forestry Division works hard to care for our existing trees and to help plant more. Even before the storm, tree planting was a priority for our city. Not only do city trees help make our streets beautiful, they help make Salt Lake City more resilient.

Urban forests are critical parts of green infrastructure, providing natural air and water filtration, mitigating the Urban Heat Island effect, and helping with carbon drawdown. As a result, trees can help make Salt Lake City a pleasant and climate resilient community.

Want to learn more about Salt Lake City’s urban forest and how you can help support our trees? Read on!

Trees vs. Climate Change

The green infrastructure provided by trees provides something we all love in the summer: shade. According to the EPA, the maximum temperatures of shaded surfaces can be between 20–45°F cooler than unshaded areas. This is especially important in cities where buildings, roads, and city infrastructure absorb the daytime heat. The absorbed heat effectively warms the entire city, making cities warmer than surrounding areas resulting in what is called an Urban Heat Island.

By making cities a little cooler in the summer, trees and vegetation help us cut down on the energy we use to cool buildings – and the associated carbon use and pollution. Trees are also able to help filter the air pollutants and sequester the carbon dioxide that we do produce. The EPA also notes that trees absorb rainwater, which is an important part of protecting our stormwater.

Recognizing these benefits is one reason why Salt Lake City has a long-term Urban Forest Action Plan. Check out the video from last year’s Summer Planning Series, which discussed the benefits of trees and how the City is working to increase our canopy to serve our entire community.

Watch the video from the 2019 Summer Planning Series walking tour on our SLC Urban Forest.

​Caring for the Urban Forest 

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Staying Cool this Summer and as the Climate Warms

Photo of Salt Lake City looking towards east-bench foothills on sunny day.
Summer in Salt Lake City can be beautiful, but rising temperatures make staying cool a challenge.

Staying cool during Utah summers is always difficult when the thermometer climbs above 90, 95, and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

This year it’s even more challenging with the necessity of staying home, and the closures or limitation on public swimming pools, splash pads, and some cooling centers.

With more people spending more time at home, utility bills and household waste have spiked.

As the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) points out, there are other ways to stay cool than by cranking up the A/C. Here are a few ideas that work especially well in our desert climate:

  • Stay Hydrated! Staying hydrated will help you stay cool and healthy, even when it’s hot! Read more about the signs of dehydration here.
  • Use your windows! Windows can be your best friend. Try to open things up at night to help cool your space down, but close the blinds or use window coverings when it starts to get hot our during the day.
  • Fans: Be strategic about box fans or overhead fans – they can help keep things cool and reduce the need for AC. But save energy by turning them off before you leave the house!
  • Optimize Space: Keep doors shut to areas you’re not using – that way you’ll be cooling a smaller space, which is more energy efficient!
  • Cook Carefully: Opting for recipes that don’t use the oven or require a long time on the stove will help keep your kitchen cooler – and may even help with your indoor air quality.
  • Switch to LED lights: Using more efficient lighting will help you save energy and money. LEDs, and other home energy efficiency improvements, can help you cut your energy bills and keep space cooler. Typical incandescent lights also put off more heat, so switching to LED reduces the heat burden in your home.

Salt Lake County Opens Two Cooling Centers this Weekend

The National Weather Service – Salt Lake City tweets about the heat risk forecast for July 11 and 12, 2020.
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Pesticide Free Tip: Prune now to prevent pests

by Sydney Boogaard

Winter is coming to a close as we begin to pack away our heavy coats and gloves. We may be sad to see the skis go back into the basement, but soon we’ll bring out the mountain bikes and hiking shoes. And as the temperature begins to rise we can head back into our gardens and yards.

Tree budding

Our trees and plants have been snoozing the winter away and it is time for them to wake back up. Just like us, our trees are a little groggy and sleepy, from their long nap. The harsh elements of the winter have damaged and weakened their branches and stems. This makes them even more susceptible to pest invasion. Nonetheless, with a little tender loving care we can help rejuvenate our trees, keeping them strong, happy, healthy and pesticide free.

Join our #PesticideFreeSLC campaign and pledge to keep our yards healthy and our bodies safe! Check out our resource guide for tips and visit our past blogs on organic landscaping to get started.

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Things are getting HOT!

Urban Heat Islands Increase the Effects of Climate Change

by Emily Seang, SLCgreen intern

On a hot summer day, it feels like heat is coming from everywhere and anything.

We’ve had a lot of those days lately.  In fact, July of 2018 was the fifth hottest on record (July 2017 was the hottest!)

Warm July 2018

The National Weather Service, Salt Lake City office, has calculated our July 2018 temperatures as being the fifth warmest on record.

There’s no question that temperatures are climbing as a result of climate change.

In cities, however, there’s also another factor at work. Read more

How to Care for our Urban Trees and the Park Strip

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Trees in the park strip are City-owned trees. Please do not alter these trees, which comprise SLC’s 85,000 strong urban forest. Our Division of Urban Forestry will prune, remove, and plant trees in the park strip. Call (801) 972-7818 to request service.

by Sydney Boogaard, SLCgreen intern

It’s a beautiful summer’s day as you walk through the neighborhood with your favorite furry friend at your side. The shade from the trees helps cool the summer heat as you pad along… sound like a lovely afternoon?  We think so. And we have our vibrant urban forest to say thank you to.

Our urban forest comprises nearly 85,000 public trees, including 63,000 street trees and 22,000 trees that reside in our city’s parks and open spaces. These indispensable trees are cared for and maintained by Salt Lake City’s Urban Forestry Division.

Why are Urban Forests Important?

A 2010 census reported that nearly eighty-one percent of Americans now live in urban centers. This means urban forests are becoming more important than ever. They provide essential benefits to our populations and wildlife. Urban trees contribute to cleaning our air, filtering our water, controlling storm water, conserving energy, and providing shade for us and our local animal life. Not to mention, they are aesthetically pleasing, strengthen social structures, and add significant economic value to our communities.

The majority of these trees are located in park strips. So, you may ask, what is the park strip, why is it there, and what do you do with it?

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Snow Storm Tree Branch Clean Up in Salt Lake City

snowCrews

Posted 12/16/2015 following the record-breaking snowstorm in Salt Lake City

The heavy wet snow that fell during this week’s storm has resulted in substantial tree damage throughout the entire City. Since the storm event, City crews have been hard at work removing downed trees and tree limbs from roadways, driveways, and heavily used pedestrian areas.

At this time, Salt Lake City Urban Forestry and contracted pruning crews are transitioning into a city-wide, block by block, effort to collect the thousands of medium to large sized branches that have fallen from trees within Salt Lake City parks and in our park strips along City streets.  During these branch pickup operations, these ground crews will also be identifying broken branches (which are still hanging in trees) to be removed by subsequent aerial work crews.

The City is committed to completing this cleanup effort as quickly and safely as possible.  However, given the quantity and spread of tree damage, branch pick up operations will continue well into next week.

As additional tree branch breakage is always possible, the Salt Lake City Urban Forestry Program is urging City residents to exercise awareness and caution when they find themselves in close proximity to trees during their day to day activities.

Please contact the Salt Lake City Urban Forestry office at (801) 972-7818 with any questions regarding the cleanup effort, and to report tree limbs blocking roads or driveways.

FruitShare’s Guide to Maintaining Your Trees

IMG_0772Salt Lake City’s FruitShare program is growing leaps and bounds! Last year the program collected over 10,000 pounds of fresh local fruit from residential trees and put it into the hands of individuals with low access to healthy produce.

Even though the temperatures are brisk and your trees are bare, now is the time to think about participating in FruitShare in 2014!

Register new trees or volunteer to harvest (& enjoy a share of the bounty!)

Here is a timeline of 2014 FruitShare events and opportunities:

February – March:
Fruit Tree Pruning — If you’re interested in having your tree(s) pruned/trimmed, please send an email by February 15th and you will be added to our trimming list. Please note, we may not be able to get to some trees due to resources and or eligibility. Adding your tree to our list does not guarantee trimming service. We will inform you whether or not you will receive trimming service. A suggested donation of $25 is requested for this service to help cover the cost of providing this service.

March:
Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop — March 29, 2014 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Join Wasatch Community Gardens and Tree Utah for a lesson on fruit tree care. In this hands-on workshop you will learn about how to use your pruning tools. And, you will learn all about pruning and caring for your fruit trees. Attending this workshop or another fruit tree pruning class will make your tree(s) a priority on our harvest list.

May – June:
Thinning — Larger healthier fruit comes from coaxing the tree to put more energy into fewer of them – and therefore pulling off good fruit when they are small. Fruit thinning channels more of a tree’s attention to the fruit that remains. Thinning lessens weight on branches and helps manage pests and diseases that prefer fruit bunched close together. Thin the crop when developing fruits are about an inch in diameter. We need volunteers to help thin fruit trees. If you are interested in volunteering, please send us an email.

June – October:
Harvest time!

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