Phoenix tree and plant inventory identifies more than 92,000 trees, $9 million benefit

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African Sumac - Rhus Iancea African Sumac - Rhus Iancea
Allepo Pine - Pinus halepensis Allepo Pine - Pinus halepensis
Arizona Ash - Fraxinus velutina Arizona Ash - Fraxinus velutina
Arizona Sycamore - Platanus wrightii Arizona Sycamore - Platanus wrightii
Australian Bottle Tree - Brachychiton populneus Australian Bottle Tree - Brachychiton populneus

PHOENIX -- Arbor Day is Friday, April 26 and the City of Phoenix can celebrate knowing Phoenix trees, plants and cactuses contribute more than $9 million in annual benefits to residents, according to a computerized mapping and assessment project.

According to the City of Phoenix, the trees provide $9.4 million in benefits each year to residents in improved air quality, storm water management, energy savings, shade and aesthetics.

“Trees and palms, especially established varieties, serve yet another purpose,” said Councilman Tom Simplot. “They give our neighborhoods character and help create a sense of place.”

I-Tree is the program that was used to track 92,834 trees, palms and tall cactuses in city parks, in street landscape and around city facilities.

“It’s important that we know how many trees the city has and where they are. This inventory will help us identify the areas where trees are abundant and where we need to fill in the gaps," Simplot said.

One area of abundance is at Encanto Park, where the 1,760 trees and palms, “have an appraised replacement value of more than $6 million and provide $76,000 annually in benefits in improved air quality, storm water management, energy savings, shade and aesthetics,” according to a release by the City of Phoenix.

The most common tree type in city parks and along city streets is the Mesquite, Prosopis velutina, which accounts for 8.8 percent of the trees in these areas.

I-Tree was developed in a partnership of the U.S. Forest Service, the Society of Municipal Arborists, the Arbor Day Foundation, the International Society of Arboriculture, and the Davey Resource Group.

The City of Phoenix says the calculated data is based on information collected locally and outlined in the Desert Southwest Community Tree Guide. Staff and volunteers continue to plant new trees and replace older trees so the number fluctuates.

Below are the top ten most common trees.

  1. Pinus halepensis – Aleppo Pine – 5.8%
  2. Parkinsonia praecox – Palo Brea – 5.3%
  3. Ulmus parvifolia – Evergreen Elm – 4.3%
  4. Dalbergia sissoo – Indian Rosewood – 4.1%
  5. Washingtonia filifera – California Fan Palm – 3.8%
  6. Acacia stenophylla – Shoestring Acacia – 3.1%
  7. Washingtonia robusta – Mexican Fan Palm – 3.1%
  8. Fraxinus velutina – Arizona Ash – 3%  

Mayor Stanton designated the month of April as Arbor Month and Friday, April 26 is Arbor Day. The City of Phoenix says Phoenix citizens can help grow the urban forest by participating in an Arbor Day activity or planting a tree on their property.

For more information about the benefits of trees visit the Phoenix Parks and Recreation website