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The crew was wonderful! They made such a wonderful space for my yard and they cleaned up so well. I am so happy I found you all and I am not going anywhere. ”- Margaret G.

Our Urban Forest: The Threats & Benefits

Did you know that here in the Dallas & Fort Worth area we live right in the middle of the largest urban hardwood forest in America? The Great Trinity River Forest. Pretty amazing! The benefits of such a large urban forest are vast – but urban life can be tough on trees and there are a number of environmental and human threats taking aim at our trees.

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Threats to our trees

You are probably familiar with Dutch Elm Disease, a disease that wiped out huge populations of trees, especially in the urban environment. Oak wilt is continuing to wreak havoc on red oak and live oaks all across the state of Texas. In order to keep the urban forest healthy and sustainable, it is important to study past diseases and learn how to avoid such situations from occurring again. The easiest and best place to start is by looking at the types and diversity of species planted in any given area.

Currently, Emerald Ash Borer is steadily moving across the country, devouring all ash trees in its path. The reason an invasive insect like EAB is able to spread so easily is because the diversity of trees within the given population is low. Ash trees were such an easy, quick maturing, beautiful tree, municipalities and homeowners planted them everywhere. Much like the overplanting of Bradford Pear – which later became a maintenance mess and an invasive plant- there can, quite literally, be too much of a good thing. Monocultures can lead to explosions of pest and disease issues.

The benefits of trees are widely noted, especially in an urban environment, but as a refresher trees aid in:

· Energy Conservation: Trees provide shade and block winter winds. They help to conserve energy and lower electric bills.

· Better Air: Trees help to reduce the heat island effect in cities, lowering temps and also filtering air.

· Healthy People: According to many studies, trees help to reduce stress, improve focus, and create a better sense of community in neighborhoods. Communities with more trees have been shown to have less cases of asthma and heart disease.

· Property Values: Trees have been shown to increase property values by up to 10%.

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Which tree should you plant?

As a homeowner, you can have a big impact on the health of our urban forest simply by making good tree planting choices. Choose trees that can handle the intense summer heat, ice storms, flooding rains, compacted soil, and high pH. Native trees are best, but species that are adapted to our climate are also desirable. By choosing the correct tree, you will be helping to create a more sustainable urban forest for years to come.

Diversity grows healthy forests. Think beyond live oak, red oak or hollies, and try one of the these options to increase the diversity found in your neighborhood:

  • Chinquipin Oak
  • Bald Cypress
  • Cedar Elm
  • Monterrey Oak
  • Eve’s Necklace
  • Texas Buckeye
  • Red Maple
  • Chinese Pistache
  • Vitex
  • Pecan

Healthy urban trees make for happy urban neighborhoods. If you’re getting ready to plant new trees and want to make sure you’re doing your part for the urban forest, give us a call. You can schedule a consultation with one of our Certified Arborists, and we will get you on the right track.

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