The city’s annual street tree planting program improves San Mateo’s quality of life and contributes to the greening of our community.
Urban trees provide fresh air, cooling shade, increased property values, and many other social and environmental benefits. San Mateo’s urban forest consists of over 22,000 trees in city parks and along neighborhood streets. This year, San Mateo’s Parks and Recreation Department will plant an additional 600 street trees along city streets, increasing San Mateo’s tree population by 2.7%.
“Tree planting is an investment in San Mateo’s quality of life, as trees are the only public infrastructure that increases in value over time,” says City Arborist, Matthew Fried. “This year, we were able to plant trees in areas previously covered by pavement. In total 3,200 square feet of concrete was removed and replaced with young trees. This is a stunning transformation for several San Mateo neighborhoods.”
San Mateo’s planting spree began last November and will continue through the end of April. The majority of the trees planted are in the Central, North Central, and Hayward Park Neighborhoods. The most common species of new street trees include 97 Chinese Pistache, 77 Frontier Elm, 49 Emerald Sunshine Elm, 53 Ginkgo (the fruitless variety!), 29 London Plane, and 27 Tupelo trees.
Benefits of Planting Street Trees
The diversity of San Mateo’s urban forest creates a unique landscape and provides many benefits throughout our community. The tree canopy is a natural air conditioner. It shades asphalt and other man-made materials, cools the air and assists in reducing erosion. Planting young trees ensures that the urban forest has a constant cycle of new growth as mature trees eventually succumb to disease, drought, or old age.
Community members were actively involved in the tree planting and assisted in identifying areas where trees would provide the greatest impact. One resident, living along the 100 block of 15th Avenue, has worked for several years to transform his street, which was almost entirely paved. In this area, concrete was removed and in its place, 30 trees were planted. The result is a neighborhood that is more walkable, safer, and aesthetically appealing.
“A tree lined street is something that I have envisioned for several years,” says Dominick De Bellis, property owner and community organizer along 15th Avenue. “Collaborating with City Arborist, Matthew Fried helped to realize this vision. Over the course of several months, we developed a plan to plant trees along my block. The city’s street tree program is an incredible benefit to the San Mateo community.”
Funding and Caring for the Investment of Street Trees
San Mateo’s Parks and Recreation Department manages the street tree planting program. Trees are planted annually with funding provided through development fees. Trees are an investment in the community. During the warmer months, the city will water trees periodically to ensure survival. The community though is encouraged to participate in the care of the trees and is invited to help with the watering. Watering instructions are posted on each new tree, and a door hanger with additional care information is left at the time of planting.
For more information about the city’s street tree services and additional resources to care for trees, please visit the city’s website.