trees

OLYMPIA – If you like trees – and who doesn't – there's lots to celebrate during Urban and Community Forestry Month this October.

New trees

The departments of Enterprise Services (DES) and Natural Resources (DNR) are partnering to plant 100 new trees on the Capitol Campus between October 2019 and April 2020. DNR will purchase many of the trees, and DES will plant and maintain them. The partnership dovetails with the 100-themed Centennial Challenge issued by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) in recognition of the organization's 100th anniversary.

"The new trees that will be planted not only add beauty to the Capitol Campus, they also clean the air and water, increase biodiversity, and improve physical and mental health," said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. "When we plant more trees in our cities, we create cities that are healthier, cooler, and better places to live."

Urban and Community Forestry Month events

The state agencies will kick off tree planting efforts at an Oct. 18 event that celebrates Urban and Community Forestry Month. People are invited to join the event at noon, at the corner of Capitol Way and Sid Snyder Ave. S.W.

The agencies are also partnering on a virtual event to honor Washington Tree City USA communities throughout the state via social media. Look for #UrbanForestry, #OlyCapitol, #treecityusa and #WAtrees. Residents and businesses in tree city communities also are encouraged to use the hashtags and share shout-outs as well as photos of their favorite urban forests.

Looking to the future

The plantings on Capitol Campus will help jump-start overall DES tree planting plans. In addition, three new moon trees – grown from cuttings from the original campus moon tree -- will be planted.

The 100 tree plan takes today's site conditions into account and is guided by two existing landscaping plans, both of which are based on the original 1920s campus design called the Olmsted Plan. A primary goal is to ensure a variety of tree sizes and ages throughout the campus into the future.

"Stewardship of the trees on the Capitol Campus is a continuous process. It's important to provide care to the oldest and largest trees to keep them healthy for as long as we can. It's also vital to plan well and keep planting new trees that will create the future canopy of our state Capitol grounds," said DES Director Chris Liu. "Having a healthy and diverse urban forest provides an essential element of well-being on the campus where so many people work, visit and do the business of government."

Tree health and safety

Also this year, DES is addressing health and safety issues with four 100-plus-year-old Norway maples that were part of the original Olympia neighborhood.

  • October 23: Two trees will be removed because their health has deteriorated to the point that they are a safety hazard. These trees have large, heavy branches that hang over popular walkways.
  • In December: Two trees will be pruned and have improvements made to support braces holding up branches. These trees have health issues but the issues are manageable for now.

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