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Arbor Day in the PNW: Spring Planning, Fall Planting

Western Hemlock tree
Western hemlock – Washington’s state tree (photo by Ben Legler)

Happy Arbor Day! Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are fond of trees. The lush greenery all around is one of the reasons we love living here. City Light was even named a 2021 Tree Line USA® utility by the Arbor Day Foundation!

Although the warming temperatures and cloudless skies may have you eager to run out and plant a tree this Arbor Day, did you know that spring is actually NOT a good time for planting trees where we live? Here in the Pacific Northwest temperate region, fall is the best time for planting trees. That’s why the tree experts on our Vegetation Management staff recommend “Spring Planning, Fall Planting.”

Now that the rainy days of winter have passed, this is an excellent time to scope out a prime spot for planting a tree in the fall. There are many factors to consider when assessing the site of a new tree:

  • Consider the proximity of overhead and underground utility lines, along with the room for the tree’s mature size.
  • When looking for a place to plant a tree, look up, down and around. That cute little Douglas Fir tree may eventually grow up to 80 feet tall!
  • If you have the space, there are many benefits to big trees, like increased stormwater retention.
  • Strategically placed deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in the winter) can improve your home’s energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, trees can maximize the amount of shade in the summer and sun in the winter.

For more tip-top tree tips from our Vegetation Management folks, visit the Safe Tree Planting and Landscaping Tips page on our website.