The canopy cover in Seattle now is about 23%. What this means is that 23% of our city streets have a lovely canopy of tree branches. Those of us, fortunate enough to fly in and out of Sea-Tac, see this every time we fly over Seattle.
“Seattle’s goal, established in 2007, is to reach 30% canopy cover in 30 years. The data from the recent study is exciting because it provides critical information about recent canopy changes across the city as well as within different land uses, neighborhoods, and watersheds. This information allows the City to better plan and manage Seattle’s urban forest.” (Quote from Seattle reLeaf)
Aside from just being a pleasant presence, trees provide many benefits to our city environment. Among those benefits are absorption of carbon dioxide; helping thwart flood water from affecting our streets and gardens; shading buildings thereby lessening the need for air conditioning; the roots help filter rain runoff, refreshing the water going into our streams and waterways; those roots also hold the soil in which they reside; and most certainly it offers relief to all of us in the form of shade!
Here at Horizon House our garden spaces have always had trees, still do. When we had the reconstruction project that impacted our garden sites over the past year and a half, a number of our trees were removed. There were a few reasons for that.
- One was that the trees had actually become root-bound. They lived in large planters, and eventually over the course of 10 plus years, their roots filled the space. When that happens the planters can crack. It also makes it impossible for the gardeners to dig and care for their plants.
- Another reason was that the planters needed to be cleaned up, relined, and provided with irrigation pipes.
But now, that is all done. We are awaiting replanting of trees in our spaces. It is important for that to happen. Sure, their roots will again fill those planters, but we will have benefited in the meantime.
Earlier this week, HH planned a trip for us, through “Spotlight On Seattle”. We visited the Seattle Waterfront, and quite a few viewpoints. On the trip we came very close to the area where Seattle suffered a huge “clear cut“. The folks responsible felt the view was beautiful, and the trees were interfering with their view, so they just cut down the trees! A VERY BAD IDEA! They have been sued by the city, as well they should.
Not only did they destroy the trees, they made the hill on which the trees lived very vulnerable to “slides” since the roots of the trees held the soil during rains.
At any rate, I hope Horizon House remembers all of this when they are choosing to replant our trees. We need those trees. The city wants and needs those trees. The residents here are anxious to have the shade and gentle noises of waving leaves back.