An Alameda Garden: Fighting Global Warming with Free City Trees

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fighting Global Warming with Free City Trees

According to the Washington Post, one forward-thinking California city--Sacramento--is taking on the global warming challenge in a smart, simple way: free trees.

"About 375,000 shade trees have been given away to city residents in the past 16 years, and there are plans to plant at least 4 million more. To receive up to 10 free trees, residents simply call the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, a publicly owned power company."

The article discusses the reduction in tree canopies occurring in most major American cities as development has increased. Shade trees can lower summertime temperatures in cities, reduce air conditioning costs, and trap greenhouse gases.

So congratulations to Sacramento. I think we should all be nudging our own cities to follow suit.


  1. Where are these trees coming from? I couldn’t find out where Sacramento is getting these trees. Are they coming from there own nursery or are they getting them from private nurseries. I, as a nurseryman trying to make a living, am quite interested when I hear of quasi-government agencies giving away something I am trying to sell. Maybe they do get them from private nurseries, it just didn’t say.

    The article also say’s part of the problem is “a failure to plant shade trees in new residential and commercial developments.” One of the problems with many new developments is the trees planted are often dwarf or small growing trees, so as to not become too big and a maintenance problem. “Many people just don't like trees because they are dirty," said Buscaino, the former head of the federal urban forest program.”We have a lifestyle where the last thing on people's mind is trimming their trees."

    I am all for big trees and shade. I put a premium on a property with shade for the hot summers. I get worried though when utilities, counties, and other government and quasi-government agencies try to help things along with “free” stuff. These organizations don’t do any thing for free. You and I will pay for them through our taxes and utility bill. Why do they have to be free? People won’t plant them otherwise? If you educated people about the benefits of tree planting wouldn’t they see the benefit and be willing to purchase them?

  2. Anonymous7:49 PM

    I think if more people knew the finacial benifit of growing trees on their property, you would see more people planting them.

    Most don't know that you can add significant value to a piece of land by having large mature trees on it, and that you don't get large mature trees unless you plant baby trees to start out with.

    I think most suburbanites and city dwellers just don't want to wait 20+ years for a majestic maple or grand oak. They plant the dogwoods and flowering apples because they look nice in a few short years. It is a shame though. "Tie a ribbon 'round the old dogwood tree" just doesn't sound right and tree houses just are not proper if they are only 5 feet off the ground.

  3. Anonymous11:41 AM

    The City of Alameda will plant curbside trees for free if the homeowner calls and requests it. For more info, call 747-7900.

  4. There are many plants that can be grown in these wetlands like: red maple, silver maple, carpinus carolianiana, quercus phellos etc. No matter which plant you grow, they will definitely serve the purpose of enriching the natural environment and maintaining the ecological balance. The only thing to be kept in mind is that, you must take the proper guidance and also see with what is your aim of doing the plantation. native plants tree nursery


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