Caring for trees of all ages creates the diverse urban forest we need!
Sometimes trees need a little tree love + care. When we take care of our trees, we help them take care of us. This is the beautiful relationship between trees and community that is at the core of Friends of Trees. You can help foster and expand your community of tree stewards.
Because we are a tree-planting organization, we usually focus on young tree care. As our Community Tree Care Coordinator Andrew Land puts it, “we’re really in the business of pediatric arboriculture stewardship training.” That mouthful of words aside, we focus on young trees getting the care they need so that they can survive to be mature trees.
“We often talk about how important it is to have a diversity of tree species,” Andrew says. “It’s also really important that we have a diversity of tree ages. Trees planted at the same time will theoretically time out at the same time.”
While it’s important that we plant and develop our urban forest, it’s also important that we nurture and maintain. It’s not one or the other. It has to be both.
“When we talk about the public health benefits of trees, we’re really talking about mature trees,” Andrew says. “The benefits of a tree—like its ability to clean air and water—expands exponentially each year.”
This is why we don’t just plant trees and walk away. So what are some of the things you can do to take care of your trees? We encourage you to make a tree care plan for all your trees, no matter how old. The right attention over the years can maximize the life of your tree and the benefit it provides.
For the first few establishment years, proper watering and mulching are crucially important. After that, trees are relatively low maintenance, but you should still make sure to do regular inspection and maintenance pruning every few years. Maintaining a healthy mature tree provides so many benefits to you and your whole neighborhood.
“One of the best things you can do is simply notice,” Andrew says. “Notice how the trees at your own home are doing. Notice how your neighbors trees are doing. Talk to your neighbors about their trees.”
For example, if you see a particularly special mature tree, talk to the owner about nominating it for special status and protections, like the Portland Heritage Tree Program.
Together, we can’t plant so many trees in just a single Saturday morning. Tree care can be a lifelong mission. Check out some resources here.
What grows on trees that makes your soil richer, minimizes weed growth, and reduces the amount of water you use? Leaves!
On our new web site, the Portland Leaf Harvest, you’ll find resources and tips for how to make and/or use mulch after the leaves fall from your trees. In addition, you’ll find guidance for composting leaves with kitchen scraps and best practices if you live in one of Portland’s areas where tree cover is abundant and residents can rake their leaves into the street for city pick-up.