Volunteer energy is high during planting season. Hopes are planted along with the trees; an expectation that trees will grow and thrive. Now that the tree planting honeymoon is over, it is time to get down to the real work of establishing new trees so they will survive.

A recently published report shows trees planted on single-family residential properties in the Sacramento area have a 5-year survival rate of less than 60 percent. Four of ten trees are dead after five years. That is a sobering thought, both in terms of dashed hopes for achieving the benefits trees provide, and for the cost in time and limited resources to plant those trees.

Does your city monitor trees after they are planted? Your city might consider harnessing some of that volunteer energy for planting trees to monitor trees after they are planted. There is a new tool available to help monitor recently planted trees. The tool, developed through the Urban Tree Growth & Longevity Working Group, is a user-friendly field guide designed for minimally trained volunteer field crews. There are also “planted tree re-inventory protocols” available through Indiana University, Bloomington.

Does your city staff need assistance in caring for and managing trees? The DNR Urban & Community Forestry program offers workshops to cities, educational institutions, tribal governments, and non-profits who care for and manage public trees; the workshops cover a variety of planning, planting, care, and management topics. If you would like to host a workshop, give us a call.

By Linden J. Lampman
DNR Forestry Program Manager