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Santa Maria tree planting program sprouting improved quality of life for the city

Santa Maria Tree Planting Program
Dave Alley/KEYT
A recently planted tree at Preisker Park in the Santa Maria rises against the blue morning sky on Feb. 17, 2023. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- A tree planting program in Santa Maria is providing an improved quality of life for people who live, work and visit the city each day.

Spearheaded by the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department, the program has allowed the city this winter to plant 250 trees in parks, as well as 50 more along sidewalks and street medians.

In the near future, 235 15-gallon street trees will be planted along city streets through a Cal Fire Urban and Community Forestry Grant, while 125 large street trees will be planted using Santa Maria's annual
street tree budget.

The City of Santa Maria highlights the importance of trees, pointing out the value they provide the environment.

"Everything from aesthetic value, obviously, most people would say trees look beautiful, and I would agree with that," said Casey Stone, Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department Park Operations Manager. "The shade. Think about how much you go out on a summer day and you just really appreciate having a shaded area, so it really helps keep neighborhoods a lot cooler, helps to cool the city, The wildlife that live in the trees, that's something that's always important to us, the nature sounds, and then just everything from environmental benefits to recreation. Every time you're out walking in an area with trees, there's a little less urban sound, a little more nature sounds."

The Recreation and Parks Department also provides residents an opportunity to plant trees in front of homes.

"Many of the homes within the city limits have easements for the planting of trees, so if you're interested in having a tree put into your easement, contact the city," said Stone. "You can make that request because we really want to see our urban forest increase, not only in tree count, but also in canopy size."

People who are interested in having a tree planted in an easement near their home may contact the Recreation and Parks Department at (805) 925-0951 extension 2260. The Recreation and Parks Department also provides regular pruning to trees.

In an effort to help manage its urban forest, the city is encouraging residents to complete an online survey on the Santa Maria website. The results will help the Recreation and Parks Department as it plans future improvements.

"We really want to get the public's input on how they view the benefits of trees and what they would like to see in their community," said Stone. "It's everything from what's your favorite type of tree, what is the importance of trees, and how would you like to see the city grow and improve on the city's canopy throughout the years."

To access the City of Santa Maria Urban Forest Management Plan Survey, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Environment & Energy
Santa Barbara
tree planting

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