#TreeCityUSATuesday

St. Louis MO

STLMOSt. Louis has received Tree City USA designation for 32 years and was awarded the Growth Award 16 times.

Home to more than 300,000 residents, St. Louis is a major Mississippi River port and a hub for manufacturing, trade, and transportation goods. With a proud industrial heritage, St. Louis is also proud of  its urban and community forest — tree canopy covers 18%  of the city.

The city of St. Louis operates more than 100 parks, including Forest Park which is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, surpassing Central Park in New York City. The city’s urban forest removes almost 700,000 lbs of air pollution annually, saving the city $1.5 million in air filtration costs. In addition, the tree canopy saves $39.8 million in stormwater management.

The benefits that St. Louis’ urban forest provides to the city are valued at $41.3 million.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees

Number One: Scots Pine (Pinus Sylvestris)

The number one tree on The Arbor Day Foundation Five Most Popular Christmas Trees series is the Scots Pine, which is the top selling tree in the country. Scots Pines aren’t actually native to the United States; they were introduced through European settlers and have since been cultivated, especially in the eastern US. Their bright green color, excellent survival rate, and great needle retention make them the most popular Christmas tree on our countdown.

Scots PineeScots Pines (also known as Scotch Pine) are a hardy species adaptable to a wide variety of soils. They resist drying, and even when they do dry they refuse to drop their needles. In fact, when kept in water these pines will stay fresh for 3-4 weeks.  Scots Pines grow to more than 60 ft high and 40 ft wide. They are however a slow growing tree, which means it takes 6-8 years to produce a 7 to 8 ft Christmas tree. They naturally grow in an oval shape and are annually sheared to form the Christmas tree figure.

Scots Pines have high economic value in Europe and throughout Asia because they produce pulpwood —timber used specifically for paper production —poles, and sawlogs used in manufacturing plywood. They’re also popular in reclamation sites because of their easy replanting capabilities, with more than 35 seed varieties commercially recognized.

To learn more about the Scots Pine or any other tree visit our What Tree is That? tool.

Tell us about the tree you selected in our comments section below.

The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees

Number Two: The Douglasfir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

Number two on our Christmas tree countdown is the Douglasfir. Discovered in 1826 by botanist-explorer David Douglas, Douglasfirs have remained important in American history.  Their tall structure, soft needles, and sweet aroma make them one of the most popular Christmas tree choices, accounting for nearly half of all Christmas trees grown in the United States.

Michelle Obama Hosts Christmas Volunteers At White HouseDid you know that Douglasfirs were also a candidate for America’s National Tree in 2001? (Check out the other candidates here.) Although they didn’t receive the title, they still demonstrate how connected they are with American history.  They helped settle the West by providing railroad ties and telephone & telegraph poles. They’re the most common tree in Oregon; eight of every ten conifers west of the Cascades are Douglasfirs. In 1936, the Oregon Legislature recognized the Douglasfir as the official state tree.

These trees are quite the warriors; they’re deer-resistant and seldom severely damaged. There are two geographical varieties of Douglasfir (which aren’t real Fir trees): Coast Douglasfir, native to the Pacific coast through Nevada, and Rocky Mountain Douglasfir, native to the inland mountains of the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. The Coastal variety is faster growing, long-lived and can grow to be more than 300 ft tall. They’re versatile, growing in a variety of environments from extremely dry, low elevation sites to moist sites.

The national champion Douglasfir tree grows in Coos County, Oregon. It measures 329 ft tall with a crown spread of 60 ft, and diameter of 11 ½ ft ­­­­– that’s massive. According to the Oregon Encyclopedia, the largest known Douglasfir is in British Columbia on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It is 242 ft tall and 13.9 ft in diameter and the only known tree on earth—other than the Giant Sequoia and coast redwood— that has a diameter of 7 ft at 144 ft from the ground. What a beauty!

Douglasfirs are also the country’s top lumber source. Their wood is used widely in construction, laminated timbers, interior trim, boxes, ladders and flooring.

To learn more about the Douglasfir or any other tree visit the What Tree is That? tool.

Tell us about the tree you selected in our comments section below.

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Tampa FL

Tampa has received Tree City USA designation for 32 years and was awarded the Growth Award three times.

Tampa FLLocated on the Gulf Coast, Tampa offers locals and visitors an array of outdoor attractions. Whether it’s a day at the beach or an afternoon bike ride through the city, Tampa is a hub for outdoor exploration.

It’s a good thing Tampa has an impressive urban forest to shade its city through the more than 100 days of sunshine it soaks in every year, with a tree canopy coverage of 28% and more than 7.8 million trees throughout the city.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the fresh air, thanks to the 1,360 tons of air pollution the urban forest removes annually, saving the city $6.3 million. In addition, the shade the tree canopy provides equates to more than $4,000,000 in energy conservation.

The benefits Tampa’s urban forest provides to the city are so great that the urban forest is valued at $1,465,600,097.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees

Number Three: The Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea)

balsam fir decoratedNext on our Arbor Day Foundation Christmas tree countdown is the Balsam Fir. Balsam Firs (not to be confused with the Fraser Fir for their similar characteristics) are adapted to a wide variety of environments from swamps to high rocky mountain terrain, but thrive best in the cold climates of the northern United States and Canada. Its symmetrical spire-like crown, dense foliage and spicy fragrance make it another favorite among the most popular Christmas trees.

Young Balsam Firs have sticky, liquid resin blisters on the side of their bark. Fun facts — the benefits of the resin in these blisters are numerous. To start, it had been sold in stores as a confection prior to the advent of chewing gum, and resinous fir knots were once used as torches. The resin also features medicinal properties; during the Civil War the resin was used as a balm and applied to combat injuries.

Today, the resin is most commonly used as optical mounting cement for lenses and microscope slides, and can also be found in paints and polishes; talk about the tree that keeps on giving! If you’re ever lost in the wild and surrounded by Balsam Firs be sure to stay near them, they’ll probably be your best survival aid.balsam fir resin

Balsam Firs grow anywhere from 45-75 ft in height at a rate of 12” or less a year. Their slender forms fit great in tight spaces. It takes about 9-10 years to grow a 6-7 ft Balsam Fir Christmas tree.

Tell us about the tree you selected in our comments section below.

The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees

Number Four: The Fraser Fir (Abies Fraseri)

fraser firThe next tree on our Arbor Day Foundation Christmas tree countdown is the Fraser Fir, named after the Scot botanist John Fraser, who explored the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the late 18th century, where these trees are naturally found. Fraser Fir’s have a unique history, according to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension office; they’re part of a remnant forest from the last ice age. They only grow naturally at elevations of more than 4,500 feet.

The needles on Fraser Firs are dark green on top, and silver underneath, with branches that turn slightly upward. Their uniform pyramid shape makes them an obvious choice as a Christmas tree. In addition to their pine scent aroma, Fraser Fir’s also have great needle retention after being cut, making them practical for families with children.

Speaking of children, a few years back a group of eighth grade students at Harris Middle School in Spruce Pine, NC started a petition requesting the Fraser Fir become North Carolina’s official Christmas tree. These bright, young minds learned that Fraser Firs were a significant part of the state’s economy. How significant? Well, 50 million Fraser Firs are grown on approximately 25,000 acres in North Carolina (that’s 90% of all of all the Christmas trees grown in the state). According to the NC Dept of Agriculture, in 2009 Christmas trees brought an estimated $100 million economic impact to the state.

biltmore estate

Fraser Fir in the Banquet Hall of Biltmore House

As it turned out, in 2005 the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation making the Fraser Fir the official Christmas tree of North Carolina — how cool is that!

If you want to experience North Carolina’s natural treasure pay a visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC during the holiday season. The Biltmore House is known for hosting one of the largest holiday displays in the Southeast, showcasing a 34-foot tall Fraser Fir in their Banquet Hall.

To learn more about the Fraser Fir or any other tree check out our What Tree is That online tool.

Tell us about the tree you selected in our comments section below.

The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees

Number Five: The Noble Fir (Abies Procera)

Each holiday season consumers hunt for just the right Christmas tree. Every year, 20-35 million living Christmas trees are sold in the US (National Christmas Tree Association). The high demand for Christmas trees has even lead to the creation of Christmas Tree Farms (15,000 in fact), whole farms devoted to growing trees used specifically for Christmas. And, for those of you in California, you can now even rent a living tree.

noble firIt can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of 6-7 feet. So the next time you’re decorating your tree, be sure to appreciate every needle it has to offer. We’ll dedicate the next few posts to the five most popular Christmas trees, starting with number five: the Noble Fir.

This rich blue-green tree has short needles that turn upward, exposing its branches. As a result, the stiff branches make it a fine tree for heavy ornaments. Noble Firs come in full and bushy to open layered varieties and can grow to more than 200 feet in height. Because they love moist soil, they’re most commonly found in the Cascade Range and the Coast Ranges of the Pacific Northwest of Washington and Oregon, and southwestern Canada.

Noble Firs are also used to make wreaths, door swags, and garland, with a stimulating pine scent that will fill your entryway. When these trees aren’t used for Christmas they make an excellent windbreak or privacy fence.

Looking for a tree seller in your area? Check out The National Christmas Tree Association‘s tree locator tool for a Christmas tree farm in your area.

Tell us about the tree you selected in our comments section below.

We plant the trees. You wear the love.

Jungle LoveJust in time for the holidays, we’re offering a new 12 month membership that plants 10 trees in a threatened rain forest and includes our new Rain Forest Rescue t-shirt for free. This is a great membership option for those who want to help preserve our precious rain forests.

Our earth’s rain forests cover only 2% of the planet. Yet they are home to more than half of the world’s plant and animal species, including 70% of the plants used for medicines that fight cancer. Your donation will help restore our earth’s rain forests for future generations.

Tell Me More!

Similar to our other memberships, you’ll receive a free subscription to our bimonthly newsletter, Arbor Day. Arbor Day is a gardener’s handbook and tree information guide in one. You will also receive a 33% discount on more than 100 trees and shrubs, and a copy of The Tree Book— our catalog with planting and care instructions.

The Arbor Day Foundation and our partners have now engaged in 59 Rain Forest Rescue projects in eight countries. The pleasure knowing that your donation will help to provide valuable education and sustainable economic incentives for farmers to preserve and restore rain forests through green agroforestry initiatives — such as shade-grown Arbor Day Specialty Coffee production, for one example — is remarkable.

In addition, Rain Forest Rescue is supporting an effort in Madagascar to reverse the destruction of forest habitat that is home to critically endangered lemurs and other wildlife species found nowhere else on earth.

women of madagascarOne of these initiatives employs a group of single mothers who earn income through weeding in the nurseries, preparing compost, and transplanting seedlings into the areas of reforestation.

The Ready Women,” as they call themselves, are transforming entire communities. One such example is that of Suzanne Boahariva, the mother of seven children who can now send her youngest to school with the income earned from the reforestation project.  Additionally, the reforestation project is restoring habitat for lemurs, and other animals that depend on the rain forest.

With the generous support of Arbor Day Foundation members, we’ve made a commitment to plant 250,000 trees in Madagascar each year.

Moreover, your membership donation helps fund programs like Tree City USA, Nature Explore and Replanting our National Forests.

amazon rain forestYou can sign up by mail, online, or by phone when you call our member service department at 1-888-448-7337. To sweeten the deal, we’ll send a free red maple tree with any order from the tree book.

With your membership donation of $20 or more you can help restore a tropical rain forest and receive a free Rain Forest Rescue t-shirt.

We plant the trees. You wear the love. Become an Arbor Day Foundation member today.

 

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Boise ID

CityBoise—the capital city and most populous in Idaho—is home to more than 200,000 people. Boise also happens to be home to one of the largest Basque communities outside of the Basque Region in Northern Spain, offering cultural influences to this western city. Surrounded by mountains and connected to bike trails, exploring the city has never been more encouraged.

Boise’s urban forest encompasses more than 23,000 publicly managed trees. The city’s forest removes nearly 7,000 pounds of air pollutants annually, providing cleaner air for its residents to enjoy. In addition, the city’s urban forest saves $331,000 in energy costs.

Furthermore, Boise’s tree canopy reduces stormwater runoff by more than 19,000,000 gallons annually, saving the city nearly $100,000 in stormwater management costs. In fact, the average tree intercepts 827 gallons of stormwater runoff every year.

Boise’s urban forest provides the city with more than one million dollars in benefits both environmentally and aesthetically, resulting in a replacement value of $88,266,102.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Cambridge, MA

Cambridge has received Tree City USA designation for 22 years and was awarded the Growth Award 9 times.

CambridgeMA[1]Cambridge is a city full of historical charm and academic achievements, home to two of the world’s most prominent universities: Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With a population of 100,000, Cambridge’s tree canopy brings a bit of warmth to this coastal town.

Cambridge has tree canopy coverage of 20% with more than 19,000 trees. The city’s urban forest removes as much as 171, 500 pounds of air pollution annually, saving the city $171,000 in air filtration costs.

In addition, the tree canopy collects 28.7 million gallons of stormwater runoff, saving $7.3 million that would otherwise be used in underground storage management.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!