Takoma Park places special value and pride in its robust urban forest canopy. The City’s Urban Forestry program seeks to preserve and improve its urban forest canopy through tree planting, tree care, private property regulation, education, and more. Read on to learn about permit requirements, hiring tree care professionals, tree care best practices, and other useful tree knowledge.
Urban Forestry Updates:
11/3/22: Tree Canopy Assessment Report
The City contracts for an assessment of its tree canopy approximately once every three years. These assessments use remote sensing data procured by MNCPPC, including aerial imagery and ‘LiDAR’ to determine where tree canopy and other land cover types occur in the City. The University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Laboratory has recently provided a report on their findings, linked as follows: 2022 Tree Canopy Assessment Report
This analysis revealed that the City’s tree canopy has declined in percent of land covered in recent years, most precipitously since 2018 when oak decline began to cause increased strife for our mature oaks. This result was not a surprise but it does galvanize our resolve to do what we can to preserve the canopy we have and plant new trees diligently. We are lucky that we have substantial age diversity in our urban forest, which means their are lots of younger trees coming up to form the canopy of the future. But, tree planting is more important than ever to ensuring that we do the best job we can at replacing what is lost.
The need to plant trees is particularly important for private properties where the vast majority of tree losses have occurred. The City has recently unveiled Tree Takoma, a program that offers free tree planting consultations and tree installations for private properties in the City. Click the following link to read more about the program: Tree Takoma Webpage
We are saddened to see the loss of a portion of our tree canopy but are optimistic about how our tree planting efforts and the resilience of nature can help turn the tide. And, we are proud that the percentage of our City covered by tree canopy cover is still substantially greater than most similarly urbanized communities in our area. We hope property owners and residents will join us in our urban forest stewardship efforts.
Past Workshops and Resources:
- Nov 4, 2019 – Tree Workshop -Recorded Presentation:
– Beetles, Borers & What You Can Do
- Bartlett Tree Experts, by Dr. Kevin Chase, PhD, Entomologist
– Factors of Oak Decline, White Paper (PDF)
- University of MD Extension Home & Garden Information Center
– Why are so many Oak trees dying this year?
Marty Frye, Urban Forest Manager
Table of Contents for Urban Forestry
- City Tree Programs
- Tree Education
- Tree Permits and Regulations
Spotlight Topics of Interest: The Spotted Lanternfly
The spotted lanternfly is an insect pest that recently arrived in Maryland. It sucks sap from trees and can weaken them but rarely kills them. It is of most concern to tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), grapes, and nursery and orchard trees. The Takoma Park Urban Forest Manager has not yet confirmed a sighting of the spotted lanternfly in the City but it has been sighted in Montgomery County, which is currently designated as part of the quarantine zone. See the resources linked below for additional information.
What can residents do?
- Maintain the health of your trees so they can cope with any stress caused by potential spotted lanternfly feeding. This includes mulching the soil tree roots are growing in, maintaining appropriate soil fertility, and watering during dry times.
- Report any sightings of the spotted lanternfly to the Urban Forest Manager and to the Maryland Department of Agriculture via the link below.
- Check vehicles and outdoor items for spotted lanternfly egg masses, nymphs, and adults before moving them out of the quarantine zone.
Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is native to China. In 2006, this planthopper spread to South Korea and then in 2014 to Pennsylvania. Since then there have been confirmed sightings in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Its favorite host is Ailanthus altissima, the Tree-of-heaven, also native to China but is known to feed on a wide variety of plants. As this invasion is an on-going issue, we don’t yet know the full range of affected plants. Currently, the plants that are affected by this insect include; Almond, Apple, Apricot, Basil, Blueberry, Cherry, Cucumber, Grape, Hickory, Hops, Horseradish, Maple, Nectarine, Oak, Peaches, Pine, Plum, Sycamore, Walnut and Willow. The current understanding is that the insect is of most concern to tree-of-heaven, grapes, and potentially nursery and orchard trees. It seems likely that the health impacts to many of the other species will be minor. However, we must remain vigilant and adapt as new information emerges.
The insect damages these plants in two different ways:
- The nymphs and adults use their piercing mouthparts to feed off the fluid from the stems or leaves. This causes reduced yield, stunted growth, localized damage and in some cases, death.
- The second way damage is caused is through the sugary secretion the Spotted Lanternfly makes while feeding. This substance is called honeydew and attracts ants, wasps and other insects as well as is readily colonized by mold. The mold then causes parts of the plant to blacken which reduces photosynthesis.
For current information please refer to the following links:
- Up-to-date information about the quarantine: Spotted Lanternfly by the Maryland Department of Agriculture
- General information: Spotted Lanternfly Management for Residents by University of Maryland
- To report a sighting: Report a Spotted Lanternfly Sighting in Maryland