Fall Tree Planting Bolsters Urban Tree Canopy

The City of Grand Junction’s urban tree canopy is comprised of over 37,000 street and park trees and is maintained by Grand Junction Parks & Recreation. With cooler weather approaching, residents may notice leaves turning the many shades of autumn. While most may think that spring is the best time of year for planting trees, Grand Junction Parks & Recreation views September and October as another excellent opportunity for establishing new trees. The ability for trees to establish a stronger root system during the cooler part of the year creates a unique opportunity for root establishment before facing the pressures of Grand Junction’s summer heat.

Over the next few weeks, Grand Junction residents will see new green infrastructure along their neighborhood streets and within parks. Several hundred public trees have been lost since 2019 due to a variety of circumstances such as insects, old age, and an increase in zero-water landscaping. As a result, the Parks & Recreation Department is taking action to protect the longevity of our urban tree canopy. Over 150 trees were planted by the Parks & Recreation Department in the spring of 2020, and the Forestry Division has planned the locations for 150 additional trees to be planted this autumn.

Some of the trees that will be planted this autumn were produced using a newly constructed aquaponic tree production bed. The aquaponics bed was made possible thanks to a $1,500 grant from the Colorado Tree Coalition. Total cost of the aquaponics system was approximately $9,000. Trees produced in this manner were started in the spring as smaller, lower-cost, bare root trees. The aquaponics bed facilitates the growth of the root systems through hydroponic media linked to a large fish tank, which produces natural fertilizer for and water for the growing trees. This method of production is another example of innovation by the City of Grand Junction to provide lower-cost solutions to City operations. The City of Grand Junction also focuses on connecting with residents to plant new trees in public rights-of-way adjacent to private properties. The Forestry Division prunes, removes, and treats street trees as a standard service for residents, and the planting of new street trees is also an option when a property owner commits to providing trees the water they need. Grand Junction residents can request the planting of a street tree by emailing forestry@gjcity.org.

Contact: Greg LeBlanc, Sr. Assistant to the City Manager 970-244-1557 or gregoryl@gjcity.org

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