Current Forestry Projects

Contact the Urban Forestry Division via email or phone 552-6253. Our office is located at Park Operations, 100 Hickory St., 59801.

New Urban Forest Gravel Bed is a cost-effective way to plant more street trees

Dozens of young oak, crabapple, sycamore, and maple trees will get new homes in City parks and boulevards each year, courtesy of Trees For Missoula, a local urban forest advocacy group, and Parks and Recreation's Urban Forestry Program. The trees are purchased in the spring and spend the summer bulking up their root systems in the City's Urban Forest Gravel Bed.

The gravel bed is housed at the Missoula Wastewater Treatment Facility, and it safely holds bare root stock for up to 3-6 months and allows young trees to dramatically increase their root volume—making them much more likely to thrive when planted in the fall.

Starting bare root trees in a gravel bed is a cost-effective way to supplement the urban forest. Bare-root trees cost up to 75 percent less than a typical nursery tree, allowing the Urban Forestry Divison to make the most of its planting budget. The Division also saves on labor and equipment costs when planting the lighter bare root trees, and can purchase a wider variety of species from bare root stock.

Trees for Missoula, a non-profit formed to support the urban forest, contributed volunteer labor and about $2300 for equipment and materials to construct the new gravel bed.

Bare root trees are lighter and easier to plant, making them ideal for a volunteer project. "We are excited to be part of this innovative project," says Trees for Missoula Executive Director Karen Sippy. "It provides an opportunity for volunteers and groups who would like to physically do something to help out Missoula's urban forest by planting trees." Volunteers and urban forestry staff have planted dozens of gravel bed trees in City parks and boulevards.

Trees for Missoula hopes to have more businesses and organizations involved with the plantings in the future. "I think this is a great way to get the community interested, invested and involved in the future of our urban forest," Sippy says.

Urban Forestry Specialist Marie Anderson is optimistic about the future success of the gravel bed. She predicts the project will eventually allow the Urban Forestry program to plant about 100 additional trees each fall. The City will continue to plant larger, more mature trees each spring and fall to ensure the age and species diversity of the urban forest. "Next year we'll again be planting about 200 traditional nursery trees. An aggressive reforestation program is the cornerstone of the City's urban forest management plan, and we're always on the lookout for methods to plant more trees and increase their survival rate," Anderson said.

Visit the Plant a Tree link at left for more information about how to plant a boulevard tree. To learn more about Trees for Missoula, visit their website.

Hazard Tree Replacements

The Urban Forestry Division continually replaces hazard trees throughout the City on an on-going basis. Forestry crews will plant replacement trees the following spring at sites where the property owner has agreed to water and care for the new trees.

The trees selected for removal have reached the end of their natural lifespans and/or show significant die-back or damage to more than 50 percent of the tree. In this weakened condition, the trees represent an unacceptable risk of injury or damage to citizens and their property.

Most people realize dead trees should be removed as soon as they are detected. But living trees also can be a threat to life and property. A tree can look green and somewhat healthy while suffering from disease, root failure, internal decay, cracks and the like. A living hazard tree has one or more defects that decrease its structural integrity and increase the probability it will fail. The Urban Forestry Division identifies and corrects hazardous situations created by defective trees.

Adjacent property owners will be notified about the removals and informed of the options for tree replacement. For more information about the hazardous tree replacements, phone the Urban Forestry Division at 552-6270.

How can I prevent boulevard trees from becoming a hazard?

The most important thing you can do for boulevard trees adjacent to your property is to water them. Mature trees need a minimum of 2 inches of water per week during their growing season (May to October) to stay healthy, maintain their vigor, and provide necessary food to sustain themselves. If rainfall during the week does not supply enough water, you should make up the difference. Learn more

Proper pruning can make a difference in a tree's health and longevity. The Urban Forestry Division prunes trees on a block-by-block basis, or, homeowners may obtain a permit to hire a certified arborist to prune boulevard trees adjacent to their property. Call 552-6270 for more information.

A living tree with dangerous internal decay

A living hazard tree with internal decay

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