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Treasure Valley Trees – Nurturing Boise’s Arboreal Diversity

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Trees play an essential part in our urban environments, filtering the air we breathe while providing shade from heat waves and even helping reduce residential energy use.

Idaho’s unique climate zone is home to numerous native plant species. To assist residents with selecting appropriate trees for their landscapes, Boise ID Tree Service (https://boiseidtreeservice.com/) published a regional tree selection guide.

1. Cherry Tree

Boise recently introduced a collaborative grassroots program to establish a city-wide canopy of trees to combat summer heat, increase air quality and enhance property values. The goal was to keep Boise cool, improve air quality, and boost property values – all things Boiseans desperately want!

This fast-growing shade tree is an ideal choice for smaller landscapes and street plantings, boasting green spring leaves that turn red in fall; reaching up to 35ft tall and 20-25ft wide!

Utility friendly turf grasses like Kentucky Blue are excellent choices for urban settings as they don’t interfere with electric lines or in drought-stricken conditions.

2. Red Maple

Acer rubrum is a rapidly-growing native shade tree used as an ornamental street or yard tree, often for street lighting or as street privacy screening. A medium-sized deciduous tree with an oval crown up to 75 feet. This species tolerates most soil conditions including clay soil conditions. Known for its red or reddish flowers, buds, twigs and leaves as well as its fall color display, it is popularly planted throughout cities and yards alike.

As extreme heat events become more frequent, trees offer natural solutions to combat urban heat. By shading streets, homes and buildings with shade from tree canopies, they can reduce energy use and cooling costs as well as carbon emissions.

Large mature trees also offer wildlife an invaluable home, offering shelter from predatory animals such as deer. Their young growth serves as food sources for deer and other ungulates to browse on.

3. Red Oak

The Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) is an often-seen tree native to eastern North America. This versatile species thrives on well-drained sites with bristle-tipped leaves which produce bitter, acorn-producing seeds within two seasons.

Boise residents seeking relief from Idaho’s Treasure Valley heat can turn to urban forests in Boise for relief during sweltering summer temperatures. Elaine Clegg and Lance Davisson established Treasure Valley Canopy Network as a non-profit to recognize urban forests’ role in creating liveable communities.

The program managers took advantage of the network’s expertise in forestry and community forestry, collaboration, innovation, sustainability and equity concerns by targeting underserved populations through virtual arbor chats with best practices for aiding them.

4. Crape Myrtle

Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia) are deciduous and evergreen trees/shrubs with beautiful, colorful blooms that thrive in many climate zones; however, they’re particularly well suited for growing in southeastern United States regions.

Easy care plants like maple trees require only occasional watering during drought periods and occasional fertilization with fertilizers designed specifically for them. Pruning should also be performed gradually over time in accordance with landscape and tree shape considerations.

Treasure Valley Trees team has joined forces with local nursery partners such as Jayker Wholesale Nursery, Franz Witte and Edwards Greenhouse and Flowershop to establish a Nursery Coupon Program at Boise farmers markets and large volunteer tree planting events. In addition, local greenhouses have been involved with propagating crape myrtles from cuttings.

5. White Oak

The white oak (Quercus alba) is one of the most emblematic trees in America. A long-lived hardwood species, it serves as an essential element in eastern North American forests by providing timber and food sources for wildlife, not to mention being featured prominently throughout our cultural history, including USS Constitution inauguration ceremonies.

White oak trees can tolerate many soil types, though they prefer well-drained conditions. When planting them near structures and other trees, be sure to leave enough space between the planting site and them so they have room to spread.

TNC is proud to partner in the Elaine Clegg City of Trees Challenge, officially unveiled on Arbor Day 2020. The goal of this reforestation effort is to plant 100,000 trees in Boise and 235,000 seedlings throughout Idaho – one for each city resident by 2030! Reforestation efforts help mitigate climate change while simultaneously improving air and water quality, increasing social equity, and contributing towards environmental protection.

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