The Most Important Tree Care Step: Right Tree, Right Place

A  few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Partners in Community Forestry National Conference in Philadelphia.  The three day conference brought together a diverse group of individuals that all take care of or build urban forest.  Groups included utility arborists, city foresters, non-profit tree planting organizations, city planners, and city employees (just to name a few).  While sitting in one seminar about the 2030 Shade plan for the City of Phoenix the point came back to me again about how important Right Tree, Right Place is.  The city is making a huge investment to increase their urban canopy from under 10% to 25% by 2030.  

The plan focuses much of its effort on Right Tree Right Place because so much of their current effort and budget is currently about fixing trees because they were Wrong Tree, Wrong Place.

What I liked about Phoenix and so many other seminars/successful places that presented at this conference was they created a solid foundation/plan (Created: Tree and Shade Master Plan) through a series of steps.

a) Take a Step Back and Collect Data: Took a step back and figured out what they needed to do in order to take a huge leap forward.  4 years ago decided to take iTree assessment of area to get an inventory of their trees, what values they were bringing to the city, and how they could improve.

b) Fix Current Problems:  One area that was a huge problem was large trees planted under utility lines.  The city was spending the majority of its time and budget maintaining these trees so that they were not a hazard.  They ultimately decided to remove them and replace several hundreds of trees so that they could focus their efforts on adding more trees instead of maintaining problem trees.

c) Create Guidelines for Future Plantings: Including types, locations, and an approval process.

Take lessons from the City of Phoenix in that the decisions you make about what type of tree you plant and where you plant it will have a great impact on how you have to care for it in the future.  Learn more about Tree Care and how to find a tree that is the right tree in the right place for you.


Ben is an employee of the Arbor Day Foundation. My favorite types of trees are flowering trees and my favorite tree is the Japanese Red Maple.

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