The Urban Forestry division of Raleigh Parks will be planting 1,000 street trees over 3 years.
The street tree planting program supports initiatives outlined in the City of Raleigh’s Strategic Plan, including improving the urban forest and reducing environmental inequities across the City of Raleigh as found in Growth and Natural Resources 1.1, 3.1, and 3.4.
In early Summer 2021, staff within the Urban Forestry division asked two questions: 1) Are street trees in Raleigh equally distributed? and 2) Are street trees in Raleigh equitably distributed? To answer these questions, the following steps were completed:
- A map was created by the PRCR GIS team that determined street tree locations and amount per street.
- Social data were added to the map and identified a cluster of neighborhoods southeast of downtown Raleigh where street trees are lacking.
- The maps were verified with an in-person street tree inventory that confirmed the location of existing street trees and empty planting spaces in the right-of-way.
- Urban Forestry determined street trees are not equally or equitably distributed in Raleigh, but there are planting opportunities to lessen this inequity.
On November 1, 2022, City Council approved a street tree planting contract that will provide 1,000 street trees in the mapped neighborhoods. View the Proposed Tree Planting Locations Map.
The first planting season will begin in January 2023 and focuses on areas in front of schools, churches, parks and other public places located just southeast of downtown Raleigh. The subsequent planting seasons will continue to fill in those areas but will also include plantings in front of single-family dwellings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are street trees important?
Increasing trees within a neighborhood provides environmental, social, and economic benefits, such as:
• Cleaner air as trees filter out dust and pollutants
• Reduced flash floods during rainstorms
• Absorbing carbon dioxide while producing oxygen
• Providing shade and cooler air temperatures during hot days
• Encourage neighbors to play and gather outdoors
• Connecting people with nature
• Reduce air conditioning bills during the hot summer months
How did you determine where to plant new street trees?
As part of the Strategic Plan and effort toward environmental equity and justice, the Urban Forestry division reviewed and analyzed the current inventory of street trees and determined the priority areas for new plantings.
The Urban Forestry Division completed a walking survey of existing street trees, reviewed available Census Data and reviewed an Urban Heat Island study. The walking survey shows, on average, there is 1 street tree every 1,000 feet in the priority area, whereas other, newer parts of the City have street trees every 40 feet. While existing infrastructure like curbs, driveways, or retaining walls might make it difficult to plant a tree every 40 feet, there is ample space to increase the overall number of street trees in the area.
Who waters and maintains the street trees?
Urban Forestry staff and the landscaping company hired to install the trees will be responsible for planting the tree, watering, and monitoring the trees for health and vigor.
Can the tree roots from street trees grow into my pipes?
Tree roots can only grow into pipes that are already damaged and leaking water; however, the proposed tree locations are a minimum of 5 feet away to avoid any conflicts with larger roots that will develop later in the tree’s life.
Who can I talk to if there are existing or future problems like limbs blocking the street or sidewalk or if the tree looks like it is dying?
You may complete a Tree Service Request or call 919-996-4115 to report any issues. An Urban Forestry certified arborist will follow up with the request, complete an inspection and organize a plan to correct any problems, like removing and replacing the tree or pruning limbs out of the street.
The City also has See Click Fix for reporting other issues like graffiti, potholes, drainage, signals & signs, parks & trails, water & sewer or garbage.