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Sunday, June 16, 2024
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dig in. Planting Trees for a Healthy Future, Together.

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Lindsay Cutler


Each individual tree works to cool your home, shade your street, and beautify your space. As a group, their power to slow down the pace of climate change, filter the air we breathe, and manage the flow of rainwater that falls is amplified. Trees serve as a multi-million dollar stormwater system, reducing the need for more concrete and construction. We call this collective system of trees the urban forest. Each stem in the urban forest adds to the strength of the whole system all while providing those individual benefits. Imagine if our storm drains occasionally dropped apples over our fences! The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and some of the parts taste good.

Tree planting in the city is different than tree planting in natural areas. When we think of billion tree initiatives, we picture people planting trees that fit in the palm of their hand. They have a bag of them slung over their shoulder, a tiny tree in one hand, and a trowel in the other. They lean over, gently shove the trowel into soft ground, place the tree in, pat the soil back down and walk a few paces over to do it again. This is the way we stabilize stream banks and reforest natural areas. These projects have vast areas of publicly managed open space designated for tree planting. 

Now think of your yard or a yard you’re familiar with. Where would you plant a tree? How many? What size tree would fit? Do you have irrigation? What are the competing uses for the site? What qualities do you like in a tree? How big of a tree will it be at the time of planting?

At The Park People, we envision a world where people create and care for vibrant green spaces as diverse as the city we share. We work with communities to plant trees and improve parks to achieve this vision of a healthy, resilient future. Community members ask us questions every day on how and where and when to plant trees, and we love answering questions. When people ask, that means they are investing in the decision to plant a tree with the same care we hope they will pour into their tree. While programs like Denver Digs Trees make the cost accessible to all, by offering trees for between $10 and $35 to all Denver residents, it is still an investment. Choosing to plant a tree is a choice to not put something else there, to spend time watering, wrapping, and mulching, to keep learning, and to invest in that space - whether that be a rental or dream home or your workplace.. 

We know the commitment that we are asking of each person who applies to receive a tree through Denver Digs Trees. We know that planting a tree is an act of hope and a statement about pride of ownership. We also know that it’s a little unfamiliar and may feel like a risk to some. We are here to help with that, to answer questions and guide people through the process. Why? Because each and every tree matters.

Denver has over 100,000 available planting spaces, most of which are on private property. Are you living, working, dining, or playing near one or more of these spaces? If so, let’s work together to plant a tree there. If the space is somewhere you manage, like your home or workplace, apply for a tree using this link. If the space is your neighbor’s, an apartment complex, or the church down the street, share this blog post and connect them to us. It’s going to take us all to slow down the pace of climate change. Together we can create and care for living, working, breathing, vibrant spaces that nourish our bodies and spirits. 


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