News blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood

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Does Maple Leaf need more trees? (And how to get them)

Posted by Mike on June 14th, 2014

Seattle’s Trees for Neighborhoods program now has an online, interactive map showing the tree canopy across the city, as well as where new trees were planted between 2009 and 2013.

A thousand in 2013 alone!

So how come Maple Leaf is behind our neighbors in tree canopy? (More green means more trees.) Even PINEHURST is greener.

Help fix this inequality when the 2014 Trees for Neighborhoods application period opens in August.

Program participants receive:

Free trees (up to 4 per household): Each year we offer a variety of small, medium, and large trees appropriate under power lines, along the street, and in the yard.

Watering bags

Training on proper planting and care

Assistance applying for street tree planting permits

Ongoing care reminders and workshop opportunities, such as young tree pruning



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10 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Sue // Jun 14, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Not sure what “even Pinehurst” means. But this program is great. I have received 3 trees from them. All different and all beautiful. I unfortunately lost one pink Magnolia to some sort of insect I just couldn’t control. Highly recommend.

  • 2 An Observer // Jun 15, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I live in an area near what used to be a nursery northeast of 105th and Roosevelt. Lots of very mature trees planted fifty plus years ago.

    Neighbors have recently removed a dozen or more of them due to safety concerns, root infiltration into side sewers, disease, dead trees. I took two down recently, for good reasons.

    Trees are fine, but the wrong tree in the wrong place isn’t.

    We still have plenty of trees in my area.

    I believe the street trees along Roosevelt are getting too big, and on hot days drip sap in a fine mist. Parked cars become quite sticky, walking is unpleasant during warm weather. The leaf accumulation during fall is pretty immense, as well.

    Trees are fine, but planted without regard to their eventual size can become problematic.

  • 3 Alex // Jun 15, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Yes, let’s not go planting oak trees under power lines but it sounds like this organization is cognizant of those pitfalls and recommends which trees work well in which spaces. As a general rule, I believe trees are better than fine — they’re good — that Seattle folks have a lot of them in our yards is the reason we’re called the emerald city.

    Regarding the Roosevelt trees… is it really more pleasant to walk in the direct sun on hot days than to walk under the canopy of large trees?

  • 4 Grace // Jun 15, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I’m torn. Trees were here before people and urban sprawl, and the mess of a giant tree is better than the mess humans leave behind. That being said, we’re here at least for the time being.

    I agree that trees ought to be planted with the location fifty year time range in mind. On our block two giant horse chestnuts (ugh) make an enormous pile of debris on the street that the neighbor barely deals with. Across the street are giant pines, recently trimmed back due to a new building, that ruined the sidewalk with roots and debris. We used this tree program years ago to plant reasonably sized maples on our block, although a neighbor didn’t like it because the leaves clog storm drains. (And I’m diligent about raking the leaves along with all the neighbors leaves that blow north up the street!)

  • 5 cas // Jun 16, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Wouls love the massive leaf generating nightmare in front of my house removed on Roosevelt. There are actually two of them which is overkill. Replacing with a lovely Magnolia would be great but I know they won’t go for it. Just hope it dies on its own or gets hit by a truck someday.

  • 6 An Observer // Jun 17, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I think you can have shade without sap.
    Roosevelt’s trees were 3 inch caliper when planted, and are now getting to the point where they block streetlights and are overgrowing their cutouts on the sidewalks.

    The UW is phasing in a replanting of their overgrown and past their prime flowering cherry trees in the Quad, taking every other one out and planting anew.

    Might be time to think about such a thing along Roosevelt? This time around, slower growing and sap free would be the way to go. I am not anti tree. One of my trees had been planted one foot from the foundation, the other was persistently unwell.

  • 7 Dan // Jun 18, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I picked up four small pine trees last year in this program and see my house on the map, I plan to do it again. It should be noted this program is for trees in your yard, not public spaces, which have more hoops to go through. They make you sit through a 30 minute talk that’s pretty informative, people hang out and they proved coffee and a lot of snacks, lotsa people talking about their gardens and yards… it was all and all a pretty fun process. And it’s all free! I recommend it.

  • 8 Annie // Jun 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    A little off topic, but in respect to our greenery: Does anyone know who is in charge of trimming up the areas lining Roosevelt Way? As you leave the downtown Maple Leaf area on the way to Northgate Way, our town looks raggedy. There are weeds and unkempt grass under all these trees. Why do other areas look nice and trimmed and our neighborhood is left like this? Does the city employ maintenance crews or is this a property owner situation?

  • 9 Sue // Jun 20, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    @ Annie. I’m usually great at finding references but had a hard time with this one. I do know that the property owner is responsible for keeping green stuff away from the sidewalk. You can get a warning if you allow your vegetation to creep onto the sidewalk or a tree or shrub not give 8 feet of head clearance.
    The worst offenders are those with fences right up to the property line. They just really let everything beyond that go.
    For the area you describe I’m think some weed block material covered with garden bark would look nice.

  • 10 Sue // Jun 21, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Yay I found it! I always like to cite what I (think) I know http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/stuse_faq.htm#gen1