Who doesn’t love a sunny day? And we’ve had plenty of them this spring. You have to love the combination of sunshine, brilliant blue skies, and shiny green trees during the lovely month of May.

Leaves are fully unfurled and many trees are in full bloom, here on the west side of Washington. It’s a good time to go outside and take a peek at our leafy friends. For most, trees are easier to identify when they are sporting leaves, but in addition to revealing the identity of our neighborhood tree, leaves often provide clues about the health of a tree. Observations might reveal branch die-back, unusual coloring, or misshapen leaves which should prompt an appointment for a closer inspection.

Trees, as community assets, require a long-term management commitment in order to assure they are healthy, safe, and provide the benefits we expect of them. A tree inventory is a great way to get initial base-line information about the community tree resource. When it is consistently used as a dynamic, ongoing tool, a tree inventory can be used to compare tree condition and growth over time. Observing and keeping track of changes in a community forest provides insight into the health, performance, condition, and trends of all or individual trees, and assists in proactive management.

This year, DNR Urban and Community Forestry is offering a workshop about tree inventories. The workshop teaches what an inventory is, how data is collected, the tools used to collect data, and how you can use the data to manage your community tree resource.

Check out this month’s Tree Link calendar for dates and locations. The same workshop is offered throughout the state. It is likely there is one coming to a community near you. Questions? Can’t attend a workshop? Call Ben Thompson at 360-902-1382 or send a note to urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov.

By Linden J. Lampman, program manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program