Anyone who has ever enjoyed the brilliant fall colors of maples, the majesty of giant Douglas firs or climbing an oak tree is invited to celebrate Seattle’s 27th year as a “Tree City USA” city with an Arbor Day tree planting and maintenance project Saturday, Oct. 20.
“Trees enhance our community by cleaning the air, reducing rain-water runoff and absorbing carbon,” Mayor Mike McGinn said. “A healthy tree canopy not only makes Seattle a more pleasant place, but it also makes our city’s business districts more inviting and attractive. Please join me in celebrating Seattle’s 27th year as a Tree City USA, in our city’s commitment to planting new trees and in our stewardship of the trees we already have.”
The event begins at 9 a.m. and runs until noon, rain or shine. Volunteers will join Mayor Mike McGinn, City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw and an interdepartmental team from Seattle City Light, Seattle Parks, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Public Utilities, the Office of Sustainability and Environment and Seattle reLeaf for the event. They will plant six trees at City Light’s Viewland-Hoffman Substation, 614 N. 105th Street, and place mulch around the bases of existing trees in the area.
Several of the City’s International Society of Arboriculture-certified arborists will be on hand to answer questions and instruct volunteers on proper planting and mulching practices. This is the first year that this many of the City’s departments are coming together to celebrate Arbor Day.
Gloves and tools will be provided for volunteers along with coffee and refreshments.
Kids of all ages can climb a 30-foot oak tree using ropes, harnesses and helmets that will be provided along with instruction.
“Arbor Day is usually celebrated in April,” City Light Vegetation Management Manager Brent Schmidt said. “We are celebrating in October during National NeighborWoods Month because fall is the best time to plant new trees in the Seattle area. Cooler, wetter weather makes it easier for the trees to build their root systems at their new home.”
Volunteers will plant Japanese maples and Dogwoods that can grow to about 20 feet, which means the trees will not pose any problems for overhead power lines as they mature.
“Trees are a great addition to any yard or open space,” Schmidt said. “You just want to make sure you put the right tree in the right place so it doesn’t come into conflict with power lines or your home.”
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.