Tree Campus USA at Colorado State University, April 2013
Tree Campus USA at Colorado State University, April 2013

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – This year, the Colorado State Forest Service joins the Arbor Day Foundation in observing the 40th anniversary of Tree City USA – a national program that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees. Colorado is fortunate to have 95 recognized cities and towns active in the program.

Keith Wood, community forestry program manager for the Colorado State Forest Service, says this spring is a great time for homeowners to plant trees – and not just to celebrate this special occasion.

Many Coloradans plant trees from mid-April to early May because it’s typically the best time of year to get new trees established, and communities around the state are hosting plantings this week to recognize Colorado’s Arbor Day – which this year falls on April 15.

With the exotic, tree-killing emerald ash borer (EAB) establishing its presence in the state, there’s one more reason for planting in Colorado communities this year. EAB, a non-native pest responsible for the death of millions of ash trees in 25 states, was confirmed in Colorado in 2013. Although EAB has not been confirmed outside the City of Boulder, it is a concern for communities all over Colorado because an estimated 15 percent or more of all urban and community trees in the state are ash.

“Now is a good time for homeowners to ‘plant ahead,’ to provide a head start to new trees that may ultimately replace ash trees that succumb to emerald ash borer down the road,” said Wood.

Wood also wants to make sure that Coloradans avoid planting any true ash species (genus Fraxinus), and that they remember to always plant for tree diversity on their properties and in their neighborhoods.

“Whenever too many of the same type of tree are planted together, we are setting ourselves up for potential problems with insects and diseases,” he said.

More Information

The CSFS just released a video on how to properly select and plant trees, available on our website.

The Tree City USA program also can be found at http://www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa.