Complete Street Tree Inventory

In 2015, the City applied for and received funding from Tree Canada and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation to carry out a street tree inventory. Davey Resource Group was hired to gather data on each public street tree and enter it into a database that would be used to proactively manage Charlottetown’s tree program.

Goals of the Street Tree Inventory:


To gain a better understanding of the urban forest as a whole, allowing for:
• knowledgeable evaluation
• proactive planning
• efficient operations
• advocacy for the urban forest

The Street Tree Inventory project included:


• contracting the professional tree care company, Davey Resource Group
• purchasing urban forest management software (TreeKeeper) to create a database of the inventory information
• analyzing the inventory data and using that information to make informed decisions about urban forest management and operational activities

Benefits of a Street Tree Inventory


Provides information to:
• create an effective and efficient tree maintenance schedule – pruning, removals, watering, etc.
• develop strategic tree planting plans – species distribution, age distribution, vacant planting sites, species or areas where survival rates are poor
• develop management strategies for invasive species – presence of insect pests, diseases
• create a tree protection policy
• develop an urban forest management plan which engages the City, the community and all stakeholders in creating a healthy urban forest into the future

Information gathered through the tree inventory gave an overall picture of the health of Charlottetown’s urban forest and provided information needed to move forward with:
• developing a strategic tree planting plan
• identify planting locations
• calculating the percentage of each tree species present – helps to ensure we have a diverse and balanced number of species
• determining the age distribution of the City trees – successional planting can ensure that the urban forest does not mature at the same time resulting in a loss of a large number of trees all at once
• identifying areas where survival rates are poor – information will be used to ensure we are planting the right trees in the right place. It will also identify environmental issues that are causing a loss of trees
• identifying species have a low rate of survival – allows us to select more appropriate species that will survive the harsh urban environment
• helping to create a tree maintenance schedule = regular maintenance and efficient operations
• providing information to develop management strategies for invasive pests – early detection and rapid response are key to being successful (i.e. emerald ash borer, an insect that attacks only ash trees, is moving eastward. How many ash do we have in the City?, where are they so we can monitor them?)
• providing information to develop an urban forest management plan which engages, not only the City, but the community and all stakeholders in creating a healthy urban forest into the future
• carrying out community based projects to engage residents and businesses in our urban forest

Data Collected on each Street Tree:


• Location – address, location property, GPS coordinates
• Date of inventory
• Tree species
• DBH and # of stems
• Tree height
• Canopy spread
• Physiological condition
• Structural condition
• Maintenance needed
• Further inspection needed
• Overhead utilities
• Ownership
• Estimated planting date
• Comments

Queries and Reports:


Using our street tree data, we can run queries such as: where are all of the public ash trees?, are there areas where survival rates are poor?, which trees species are thriving?, and many more!
…And use that information to:
• Organize maintenance activities – i.e. efficient elm tree maintenance
• Print reports – give to maintenance crews to carry out operational activities
• Collect ongoing data – track activities such as pruning and create cyclical pruning schedules, identify planting spaces, etc.
• Carry out monitoring activities – what needs extra attention, catch things early - proactive
• Carry out hazard management – greater safety

Query Examples:


Query about: Tree Species
Where are our native trees?, Do we have invasive tree species – what and where are they?, How many different tree species do we have?
Do we have too many of any particular species?
The maximum percentage that should be present in the street tree population:
Family - 30%
Genus - 20%
Species - 10%
Maple Family - Sapindaceae
Genus – Acer (maples) = we have 32% (should be no more than 20%)
Species – Norway maple = we have 24% (should be no more than 10%)

Charlottetown’s Norway maples:


• Many are of similar age
• Susceptible to boring insect pests
• Many have girdling root problems
• Often have structural issues
• Are considered invasive

What do we do about having too many maples?


- Plant fewer maple trees… but don’t stop planting them as we don’t want a big gap in the succession of the urban forest where there are no maples
- Stop planting Norway maples – they are invasive. The City has not been planting Norway maples in our Parks for over 13 years and have not been planted as street trees for a number of years
- Look for and plant alternate tree species that serve the same purpose (foliage color, shade tree, etc.) in the urban forest. More tree species means greater biodiversity and forest health

Query about: Age Distribution


• How are the ages of our trees distributed?
• We don’t want all trees to mature at the same time across the City as a whole or in specific locations such as in a Square or in the downtown core

Query about: Heritage Trees


• Where are they? We need to know because they may need extra care
• We have 156 trees in Charlottetown that are significantly over 100 year old

Query about: Emerald ash borer (EAB)

- an invasive forest insect pest
• Emerald ash borer (EAB) kills ash trees
• Charlottetown has 313 ash in the street tree inventory
• EAB is found in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec
• EAB could easily be moved to PEI in wood products or in firewood
• We now know where all of our ash trees are and can carry out a targeted monitoring program to detect EAB when it arrives


About Tree Canada:


Tree Canada is a not-for-profit charitable organization established to encourage Canadians to plant and care for trees in urban and rural environments. A winner of the Canadian Environmental Award (2007), Tree Canada engages Canadian companies, government agencies and individuals to support the planting of trees, the greening of schoolyards, and other efforts to sensitize Canadians to the benefits of planting and maintaining trees. To date, more than 80 million trees have been planted, more than 550 schoolyards have been greened, and Tree Canada has organized 11 national urban forest conferences. More information about Tree Canada is available at treecanada.ca.

About TD Friends of the Environment Foundation:


From schoolyard naturalization and energy conservation, to tree plantings and environmental education, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) is proud to provide funding to help sustain an incredible array of grassroots environmental programs across the country. In 2014, TD FEF supported over 1,000 projects with $4.9 million in funding. Thousands of donors give to TD FEF on a monthly basis, and TD Bank Group contributes in excess of $1 million annually. TD also covers the management costs of running TD FEF, which guarantees 100 per cent of every dollar donated funds environmental projects in the community in which the donation was made. For more information on how to donate and get involved in your community, visit tdfef.com.