City, garden club planting trees Friday for Arbor Day
To celebrate Arbor Day, the Park and Recreation Forestry Division and the Rainbow Garden Club will be planting two Ohio Buckeye trees in Grande Vista Park on April 26 at 4 p.m.
Grande Vista Park was chosen by the Rainbow Garden Club.
The city and garden club planted two Buckeye tress in the same park last year for Arbor Day.
There are about 36,000 public trees in Great Falls.
The city maintains 13,331 trees in the Boulevard District, which includes a special assessment on property owners in that area that funds maintenance, trimming and replacement of those trees, as well as leaf pickup.
In addition to the boulevard trees, the city maintains trees in parks, on trails and the municipal golf courses for a total of about 36,000 public trees.
Great Falls has a longstanding commitment to the urban forest, dating to the 1890s when Paris Gibson, the city’s founder, and other settlers planted thousands of trees. The city’s public forest is now valued at more than $77 million, according to the city.
The Ohio Buckeye trees can grow to about 30 feet tall and are on the city’s list of approved trees.
Earlier this year, Great Falls was named the outstanding urban forestry community for 2018 by the Montana Urban and Community Forestry Association.
The association gives out these awards annually and according to their request for nominations, the outstanding urban forestry community award is given to “the local city or county administration, tree board or committee that has made outstanding accomplishments in completing urban forestry projects, provided exemplary tree care leadership, and made significant progress in meeting the goals of their local urban forestry program.”
Great Falls has been a member of the Tree City USA program for more than 30 years, longer than any other Montana city in the program run by the Arbor Day Foundation.
The program was established in 1976 and now more than 3,400 communities have joined by meeting four core standards of urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department; having a community tree ordinance; spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.
According to the AmericanForests.org, homes that are landscaped with trees are worth 4 to 15 percent more and sell faster than homes without trees. Trees can also increase the property values of a whole neighborhood or business district.
Carefully positioned trees can reduce energy consumption by up to 25 percent for residential areas. The U.S. Department of Energy has developed models that indicate the property placement of three trees can save an average household $100-$250 in energy costs annually.