Money does grow on trees, report says

Trees help to save the city money by cutting energy costs and blocking winds.

McKenna Ewen

There’s more green to trees than the leaves.

Trees provide shade, store carbon, collect storm water, cut energy costs, block wind and increase property values, all at a benefit to the city.

But time is running out for residents to snatch up bargain-priced trees through a city partnership to add up to 1,500 trees to the landscape.

Minneapolis is already home to more than 979,000 trees, together valued at more than $756 million in structural value, according to the Minneapolis’ Urban Forest report conducted by the U.S. Forest Service.

Partnering with Tree Trust, a local nonprofit, the City Trees program sold 800 trees in the first two weeks, said Dorothy Dahlenburg, Tree Trust director of development.

Gayle Prest, manager of environmental programs for Minneapolis, has praised the program’s progress.

“(Adding trees) is one thing that residents can do to add beauty and help the environment,” she said.

“Trees are an amazing value for the city from a number of different aspects,” Daniel Huff, City Trees project coordinator, said.

According to the same U.S. Forest Service report, trees save the city more than $23 million each year in energy costs, storm water treatment and lost property values.

Each tree ends up saving the city about $80 each year, Huff said.

City Trees started last year as a response to help replace trees lost to Dutch elm disease and storm damage. The program gave Minneapolis residents an inexpensive opportunity to repair damage.

According to Dahlenburg, about 1,000 trees were sold in 2006.

“The program was phenomenally successful last year,” said Huff.

Until April 15, trees are available for $15 each, including mulch and proper planting instruction. Trees will cost $60 to $100 after that date.

“These are not seedlings; they’re six- to 10-foot trees,” Dahlenburg said.

In addition to selling trees, the program has started a series of tree planting and care workshops. More than 300 people have signed up for the workshops so far.

“There’s a lot of interest in the workshops, more than last year,” Dahlenburg said.

The second of two workshops will take place Saturday morning from 8:30 to 11 at the Minneapolis Urban League.

With proper care, the city looks to continue the growth of what it calls its “urban forest.”

“(Trees are) a beautiful legacy that people can give their neighborhood and their city,” Prest said.

Minneapolis residents can choose a tree to order at www.treetrust.org.