You’ve probably heard of the annual Arbor Day celebration, but did you know that Oregon celebrates an entire Arbor Week? Oregon Arbor Week is held during the first full week of April and is a time for residents to appreciate our state’s proud tree heritage. This week is a great time to learn about the importance of trees in your community and express support for our urban tree programs!
All of the trees in your community, including those found along streets, within parks, and in private yards, are collectively known as an urban forest. A healthy urban forest provides numerous benefits to our communities. For instance, a dense tree canopy can reduce harmful stormwater runoff by capturing nearly 20% of annual rainfall, much of which evaporates back into the atmosphere. Did you know that trees also help reduce soil erosion? You may be surprised to learn that each individual rain drop that hits bare soil causes soil erosion. Rain water runoff, now carrying soil particles, flows into our streams which, in turn, damages the critical habitat of salmon and other local wildlife. Tree branches and leaves help deflect the energy of each rain drop, which results in less soil erosion.
The urban forest also provides critical habitat for local wildlife, improves air quality, captures and stores carbon dioxide, and makes for a more pleasant neighborhood. Properly placed trees can reduce your home’s energy costs and enhance property values.
Oregon Arbor Week is a great time to plant a new tree on your property. Make sure you consider the mature size of your tree and select the “right tree for the right place.” Don’t forget to protect and maintain the existing trees in your community too. Consult with a certified arborist or a local nursery to learn proper pruning techniques for the trees on your property.
There are many ways to get involved in Oregon Arbor Week — volunteer with Friends of Trees or SOLVE on a local restoration project, organize a green team at your church or school, or contact your elected officials and express your support for urban tree programs. You can also request a “Right Tree, Right Place” workshop from Clackamas County SWCD for your local community group. For more information, contact urban conservation planner, Erik Carr at 503-210-6012.