Tree Davis is looking out for young trees in Davis in a whole new way. To monitor more than 1,000 trees recently planted by Tree Davis volunteers, the local nonprofit organization will use Davis’ bicycle infrastructure to check the health of individual young trees.
Using a bicycle means monitoring trees without the extra carbon footprint that would come through traditional monitoring using a car or truck, says Keith McAleer, Tree Davis executive director.
To unite the power of bicycles and trees, Tree Davis has hired a new bicycle monitor, Kathryn Dixon, to check on all 1,000 trees, so that Tree Davis volunteers can address any health issues she finds.
“Tree monitoring is key to the success of trees in our community because the average life-span of a tree in an urban setting is only 10 years,” McAleer said. “This short urban life-span is a big problem because most trees don’t really start benefiting the community with shade, energy savings, storm water savings, etc., until they reach a mature age.
“The good news is that if young trees get basic needs met — adequate watering, weeding, pruning and proper staking — most of them will thrive and grow to a ripe old age,” he said.
Dixon, a former UC Davis horticulture student, said she’s excited about the opportunity to check the condition of Davis’ young trees and to investigate future needs.
“Not many people know that trees recently planted are immediately in a vulnerable state and need care,” she said. “It is not until after a few years, after their roots have a chance to get established, that these trees are then able to reach maturity and ultimately benefit our community.”
To make this green work possible, PG&E has funded the bicycle monitor position through its Power Your Community Grant Program, a program benefiting almost 100 nonprofits throughout PG&E’s service area.
Earlier this year, Tree Davis worked with PG&E to plant more than 60 trees on Claremont Drive to showcase “right tree, right place” tree selection methods to plant trees under high-voltage power lines.