Rooted Diversity: Recognizing and Nurturing Tree Species in Kansas City
Trees play an integral part in our ecosystem. Their presence ensures a thriving, resilient and environmentally sustainable landscape.
Investment properties are essential investments, increasing property values while creating jobs, recreational opportunities and business ventures. Unfortunately, they’re often subject to pest attack.
These attacks can have significant repercussions for the environment and communities alike.
Tree Species Recognition
Trees are essential parts of local ecosystems, providing shelter and sustenance for wildlife. Trees in cities provide shade from the hot days of summer while drawing people outdoors for walks, conversations with neighbors and to see the vibrant autumn leaves. A city’s tree canopy also makes a valuable investment by increasing home values and quality of life for residents.
Homeowners adding trees to their landscape take into account various aspects, such as their purpose in the yard and desired species of tree. They want their new additions to grow into sizes suitable for their landscape while flourishing under Kansas City’s climate conditions.
Some factors that determine this include how much sunlight an area gets, soil conditions and proximity to pavement with salt used for winter de-icing. Many native Kansas trees can tolerate wet or dry conditions as well as salt sensitivity.
Tree Species Education
Students explore local tree species diversity and learn to classify them based on attributes such as branching patterns, bark color/shape/color scheme/type, leaf size/arrangement patterns and woodpecker hole indicators. By understanding more about how to classify trees accurately they will be better equipped to safeguard them against insect damage and disease. You can learn more about trees in Kansas city on this useful website: kansascitymotreeservice.com
This activity can be enjoyed year round. In the fall, students can observe fall colors on deciduous trees such as maples and oaks; while winter offers opportunities to investigate sycamores and birch trees.
Student teams enrolled in this activity investigate tree species suitable for planting in a new city park, as if acting as city foresters. Each team identifies various trees in its community and writes down their common name, scientific genus name and specific epithet (underlined or italicized if written by hand) on a worksheet. If possible, teams should also note where exactly each one can be found within its community.
Tree Species Restoration
Tree species diversity isn’t just important in terms of restoring habitat; it also plays a part in improving the health and sustainability of natural and urban ecosystems. For instance, non-native trees that invade native environments can contribute to decreased water quality, increased flooding risks, urban heat islands and urban heat islands.
Forest restoration strategies can range from passively (protecting remnant vegetation) or actively (accelerating natural regeneration or direct seeding), such as tree planting. When selecting species for restoration sites, those that provide critical ecological functions should typically be chosen.
As research shows, selecting framework species allows for integration of several functional groups into a planting design such as weed suppression, dispersal agents and fire tolerance into one design. Furthermore, biodiversity has been shown to influence ecosystem stability over time , such as increasing resilience to drought in forest stands or the abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.
Tree Species Management
Trees contribute significantly to community economic stability by raising home values and drawing people to parks, shops and restaurants. Trees also create cool neighborhoods by shading hot summer days from direct sun while providing scenic landscapes that encourage walking, strolling and conversation between neighbors.
Overland Park learned the hard way that monoculture can be risky when an outbreak of the Emerald Ash Borer decimated their beloved maple trees, leading to restrictions on planting more in public right-of-ways and along streets.
Foresters today recommend diversifying a city’s arboreal bets through planting diverse species. Foresters emphasize choosing species which are not closely related, such as oak trees – while different genera, any disease or insect could quickly wipe out that tree species from all its locations in one go! A better strategy would be planting multiple species such as evergreen spruce or arborvitae (the so-called ‘Green Giants’) trees.