Tree Des Moines

Inspiring People to Plant, Nurture and Celebrate Trees

Tree Inventory

If Trees Could Talk, They'd Cry 'Help!'

Spring 2016  Large numbers of city-owned trees in Des Moines are in poor health, and efforts to help the urban forest rebound are complicated by emerging pests, diseases, and city budget constraints.

 

Tree Des Moines hired Davey Resource Group in late 2015 to inventory trees located in city-owned rights-of-way and high-traffic sections of six public parks and cemeteries. The inventory’s results are a sobering reminder of how at-risk the city’s forestry resources are. On one side, there’s an uphill climb to maintain existing trees (for example, pruning). On the other, there’s a cumulating, annual unmet need to replace dead and dying trees. The combined effect is a net reduction in Des Moines’ urban forest.

 

Tivon Feeley, Iowa’s Forestry Health Program leader says “we failed to learn our lesson from Dutch elm disease about the importance of planting diversity. Hopefully, we will learn this time as the emerald ash borer changes our urban landscape.”

 "We failed to learn our lesson from Dutch elm disease about the importance of planting diversity. Hopefully, we will learn this time as the emerald ash borer changes our urban landscape.”

Highlights of the Tree Inventory

  • The inventory illustrates significant problems with both the quality and quantity of trees. We expected to see thousands more trees, and we were hopeful that the trees we do have would be much healthier than they actually are.
  •  A lack of species diversity is also a key concern. When there’s energy around planting different tree species, the urban forest has a much better chance of weathering future threats.
  • Nearly 15 percent of the trees included in the inventory are ash, which are falling prey to the invasive, destructive beetle known as Emerald Ash Borer. The borer was discovered in Des Moines in January, and has now spread to more than 30 counties in Iowa.
  • Seventeen percent of the trees included in the inventory of city property are maple, which are threatened by the Asian Long-horned Beetle. The pest has already devastated urban forests in the northeastern United States, and is currently being monitored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
  • Maintenance needs are considerable. More than 24,000 city-owned trees need to be pruned or cleaned. An additional 4,668 need to be removed, according to the study.
  • For more information, please review the top line summary of the benefits of Des Moines’ street trees and the Davey overview.

About the Tree Inventory

The inventory is meant to serve as a planning tool to help develop a program for tree care, including budget, staff, and equipment needs. The inventory was conducted by Davey Resource Group, which was hired by Tree Des Moines in collaboration with the City of Des Moines. All trees, stumps, and a percentage of vacant planting sites along city-owned rights-of-way (street trees) were included in the inventory. Also included in the inventory were maintained areas of Greenwood Park, McRae Park, Nash Park, Union Park, Glendale Cemetery, and Laurel Hill Cemetery. Source: Davey Resource Group.

Check Out Tree Inventory Results in Your Neighborhood

 

If you live in Des Moines you can check out information in your neighborhood – species as well as environmental benefits related to greenhouse gas reduction, water benefits and energy benefits. Click here

Copyright 2015. Tree Des Moines, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tree Des Moines, Inc.    PO Box 65217 West Des Moines, IA 50265    Phone: 515-577-0774