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City of Plano Parks and Recreation

Posted on: August 20, 2018

Ask an Urban Forester: How can residents contribute to Plano’s tree canopy (for free)?

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Here in Plano, Angela Kralik is our Urban Forester. She receives many inquiries from residents who, like her, understand the importance of trees and care about the well-being of these living creatures.

Having collected a small cache of questions from local residents, we thought it would be a good idea to share her useful information with the rest of the community in an effort to help everyone in Plano support the maintenance of our urban forest canopy. Visit our Urban Forestry page for more information about how you can speak for the trees!


Q. How do trees make a difference in my life and where can I get some for free?

A. Trees are one of the most valuable assets to the infrastructure of our city. It’s called Green Infrastructure! Whereas most of Plano’s infrastructure (buildingsIMG_0914_WEB, streets and utilities) starts out new and then degrades over time, new trees increase in value long before they deteriorate and require replacement.

Besides making Plano greener and more beautiful, trees also reduce energy costs. Shade trees keep homes cooler, while evergreens block chilly winds and help keep homes warm during the winter months. Some companies estimate trees save homeowners up to 20 percent on energy bills!

Trees also improve the air we breathe and the water we drink by providing oxygen and filtering carbon and other pollutants through the leaves and roots. They also slow down storm water before it hits our creeks, thereby reducing flooding. These benefits affect us right where we live, every day.

At the beginning of 2018, Plano Parks and Recreation completed its first Urban Forest Master Plan to provide guiding principles to improve the quality of our residents’ lives through healthy trees. This is a big deal because Plano is only the second city in the state to have an Urban Forest Master Plan! After completing the Urban Tree Canopy assessment in 2016, we quickly discovered that our tree canopy needed to grow from 21 percent to 30 percent to help offset the city’s percentage of impervious surfaces (48 percent).

So how can you help us meet our goals? By planting young trees in your yard, you are doing your part to keep the canopy population thriving.  There are three great opportunities for free trees this fall:

  • Oncor Arbor Day Energy-Saving Trees Project is giving away free trees to the residents of Plano. You can check out their website at https://energysavingtrees.arborday.org/#Home for more information.
  • The City of Plano’s Sustainability Department will be offering 200 free trees to Plano residents on Saturday, Oct. 27. This is first come first served, and those who come out can also learn plus how to plant and care for your new tree. Keep an eye out in your Live Green in Plano e-newsletter for more information.
  • Plano Parks and Recreation will be giving away 50 seedlings to the first 50 attendees at its 29th annual Arbor Day celebration on Saturday, Oct. 6. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at Oak Point Park Nature and Retreat Center (5901 Los Rios Blvd.) and also helps mark the department’s 50th Anniversary.

Do you have a question for our Urban Forester? Contact Angela Kralik at angelak@plano.gov or call 972-941-7250. You can always visit us at www.plano.gov/trees or reach out to us through the Fix It Plano app or by calling 469-77FIX-IT.

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