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Tree planting prioritization is about getting the right tree in the right place at the right time. The last piece may be the essence of prioritization and is often ignored (another topic perhaps).

My question for the community is are you aware of any municipalities/jurisdictions that have developed guidelines for prioritizing tree planting that are publicly available? Our experience is that no one really has which means every community that is using prioritization with planting plans is doing it differently.

Please let us know if you can point to some standardized, publicly available prioritization guidelines.



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  • It's very ad hoc in Arlington County. Sometimes we get grants with specifics requirements, but our street tree planting depends on our landscape specialist receiving requests for planting and driving around looking for spots. The parks plantings are a little more organized, and I have used Urban Tree Canopy Assessments to find parks lacking in tree canopy, which helps a lot. That can really help prioritize planting.

  • I like the idea and have had my own methods to prioritize planting locations in past jobs.  However i know of no standard method.  I would bet you could interview 10 city forester and get 10 diff responses but they would all fit into certain categories.

    Such as... requests, direct orders(political, regulations, policy), grant requirements, low canopy cover, replacement from some type of loss, rotation around city or political districts,new required site,etc... Not sure if species or site conditions would be priority issues or just criteria?  

    Can anyone think of any others?

  • Rich, there are many municipalities and counties across the country that have completed tree canopy studies that have also developed goals and implementation plans for meeting those goals. Most of this has been under the USDA Forest Service Northeast Area umbrella.  If you Google Tree Canopy studies you will find it.  I have developed one for my county but it's still under internal review so I can't release it yet.  There are no one size fits all prescription for tree planting when you take the entire country into account.   Conditions are different in many places with many factors to consider.  A crucial issue is what are the goals of the community?   Water quality issues are at the forefront here in Maryland so riparian buffers and storm water management goals are driving the system in many cases.    I don't kno if this helped but if you have any questions I'd be glad to discuss this further.  Bud

  • Nice concept, Tree planting prioritization. I have not seen such a guideline, but I am sure going to recommend one for my community. Currently it is very haphazard. To your point, having such a guideline is one of the many costs to planting trees that most do not consider. I have watched 3 tree planting programs with the best of intentions stop way short of their goals because of the misunderstanding of what it takes to put the right tree in the right place during the right time, planted correctly with a maintenance plan. That is a mouth full, but that is what it takes. I will let you know if we come up with some good guidelines.  

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