Learn how trees help make us healthy

Do you know how increased exposure to nature creates countless health benefits?

Join us for a free Trees & Health event–in Portland, Salem and Eugene

Trees benefit people, creatures and the planet in ways too numerous to list here. We know that trees combat climate change, clean our air and water, create habitat, grow food … Trees do so much that it’s no surprise that trees improve our health, too—but it’s only relatively recently that we’ve learned just how much trees contribute to human health. Friends of Trees is now using that knowledge to implement programming specific to trees and health.

Thanks to a 2016 funding award from Metro, Friends of Trees has expanded our community tree-plantings to include Portland’s Northwest Industrial District, focusing on projects to directly impact human health. Our goal is adding green infrastructure to this area that has an abundance of concrete and a dearth of green. These plantings will also forge a stronger connection between the Industrial District and Forest Park, which is so close yet so disconnected from this part of town; adding trees in the industrial section contributes to a green corridor, channeling the benefits of the park to the industrial district.

How do trees make us healthy? Patients in hospitals heal more quickly if they have a view of trees and nature; people are more likely to get out and walk and run through tree-lined communities; babies in tree-lined neighborhoods are more likely to have a healthy birth weight; exposure to greenspaces can reduce blood pressure and stress levels; views of natural settings have been found to reduce crime and aggression … to list just a few.

Yes, the trees we plant here will improve our health, but so will the way we plant those trees. Our community tree-planting program is implemented with thousands of volunteers, many of whom have never volunteered before. And guess what? Volunteering is good for your health, too! Volunteering makes us happy, contributes to more satisfied employees, decreases the risk of depression, reduces stress levels, and more!

And to help these trees grow and thrive, Friends of Trees will water, mulch and prune these new trees for their first two years in the ground. This is slow and steady work, and we are excited to continue growing this program over time.

There’s another component to this project: Scientists. Presentations by experts are a part of our Trees and Health work. It’s an exciting time, with new research coming out regularly, and we look forward to sharing this important information with our community.

Learn more about trees and health.

JOIN US FOR A FREE TREES & HEALTH EVENT

Guest lecturer Dr. Kathy Wolf of the University of Washington explores how nearby nature improves environmental, social, and economic conditions in cities

  • Portland, March 1, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Salem, March 2, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Eugene, March 3, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Location and registration information.

This is an excerpt from our February Treemail, read the entire issue here.

Caring for your new fruit tree                 

We hope you can join us April 18 for our annual Fruit Tree Giveaway! A $5 donation is suggested, and even if you doubled that, you’re still escaping with a great deal on a tree.

Structural pruning of your young fruit tree helps it hold literally hundreds of pounds of fruit once it matures. Photo: FoT File
Structural pruning of your young fruit tree will help it hold literally hundreds of pounds of fruit once it matures. Photo: FoT File

Inexpensive is a great price point, but unlike shade trees, fruit trees require extra care and investment in the first three years.

“A young shade tree only needs to be structurally sound enough to support leaves. A fruit tree will support hundreds of pounds of fruit,” says Andrew Land, one of FoT’s staff arborists. It’s important to properly prune your new tree during the first three years of its life.”

You can call on one of our partner arborists to take care of the pruning or for the DIY inclined, visit our kindred souls at the Portland Fruit Tree Project —they’re awesome, informed, and helpful.

While pruning requires knowledge and care, there are three very important things you can do for your tree right off the bat:

LovedAppleTree
Plant your fruit tree in a spot with lots of space to grow, and lots of sunlight each day (southeast exposure is great). Photo: FoT file

1. Location, Location, Location…
If possible, choose a location on the southeast side of your property. Allow enough space for the tree to grow and plant your new tree in an area that will get plenty of sunlight. This will help both the overall health of the tree and aid in ripening fruit.

2. Thirsty, so very thirsty…
Your new tree needs 10-15 gallons of water per week. That downpour—no matter how soaked your clothes were—still doesn’t satisfy your tree’s water requirements. Fill a five gallon bucket up 2-3 times a week and give your fruit tree’s roots a deep drink.

3. #mulchmadness…
What kind of mulch? Short answer, brown: wood chips, bark dust, compost—any sort organic matter that’ll direct food and nutrients down to the roots and help retain water. Just follow the rules of 3 for mulching:
3 foot diameter of mulch
3 inches deep
3 inches from base of the trunk.

At last year’s Fruit Tree Giveaway we sold out of trees, and even with more trees on hand this year, we’d still encourage people to come out early: We’re beginning at 10 a.m. on April 18 and go through 1 p.m.

The event is held at Friends of Trees’s north parking lot at 3117 NE Martin Luther King Blvd in Portland. If you can’t make this event, you can help keep the Northwest’s tree canopy healthy by donating or volunteering.

Community Nature Walks: Celebrating trees and health!

By Erica Timm

Wishing Tree1
Capturing all the wishes shared with the tree (E. Timm)

What do trees, walking and socializing with friends and neighbors all have common? Well, they’re all good for your health!

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Arbor Month than to host a Community Nature Walk in a few communities around Portland this month. Check the list below to find the one fits your schedule best:

  • Boise-Eliot Neighborhood: Thursday, April 9th at 1 p.m. meeting at Lot 13 (​4009 N Mississippi Ave​) – map​
  • Lents Neighborhood: Wednesday, April 15th at 6 p.m. meeting at the Lents Tool Library (9211 SE Ramona St) – map​
  • Portsmouth Neighborhood: Saturday, April 25th at 10 a.m. meeting at the N Houghton-Fortune intersection​ – map

These walks bring folks together for an hour long walking conversation about the neighborhood nature gems we’ll discover along the way and other related tree topics. Some highlights may include a wishing tree, a topiary animal hedge, a community orchard, a healing garden and more…

Join us for a walk, or all three, to learn more about Portland’s neighborhood nature gems!

For more information, contact Erica at ericat@friendsoftrees.org or 503-467-2533.

For more information on the many health benefits of trees, visit the Green Cities: Good Health website.

Erica Timm is a Senior Neighborhood Trees Specialist

When Ascomycota met Ladd’s Addition

Portland’s Ladd’s Addition was one of the first developed neighborhoods in the Western United States. The

Ready, Set Plant...Lauren Wang
Ready, Set Plant…Lauren Wang

planned community’s level of specificity included guidelines for park space and the directive to plant over 1,600 trees. The master plan called for maple, linden, birch, locust, the aptly named hawthorne, and American elms.

In 1991, Dutch elm Disease, an Asian fungus discovered by Dutch scientists that has taken a horrible toll on American Elm trees, reached Ladd’s Addition. In response, concerned homeowners and tree enthusiasts formed Save Our Elms to combat the toll of infected and disappearing trees.

Lauren Wang
Sticking to the plan – Photo Lauren Wang

Thanks to their mindful efforts, pruning, and inoculation programs, 74 percent of the American Elms survive in this SE neighborhood with diagonal streets. Along with preventative measures, Save Our Elms has been filling in the gaps with disease-resistant elms. This year during the first weekend of March, volunteers gathered in a style that would be familiar to anyone who has spent time with Friends of Trees, to plant trees.

According to SOE volunteer Lou Miles Ladd’s Addition is unique because it’s, “A historic district, but NOT based on its architecture.  Instead, it’s based on the street plan and the 1910 street tree plantings.” Because of this, new plantings  reflect the original plan. So if a tree is going in on Ladd Ave, it will be a disease resistant it will Accolade elm.

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Planting Trees

You can learn more about Ladd, Ladd’s Addition and Portland by traveling to the museum of the city. Thanks to Lauren Wang for the photos and a hearty thank you to all the volunteers, donors and supporters who work with Save Our Elms to keep the city’s canopy green and healthy.