Tuesday, October 20, 2015

El Paso Can Learn from Sammamish Washington

Click on image to enlarge. Picture taken at a 7-11 on Zaragoza just north of 375
El Paso could learn a few things about protecting trees from Sammamish, Washington. A friend sent me a link to the Sammamish Review's online story: City now has strongest tree ordinance in state, mayor says. It did my heart good. I lived in Sammamish for a number of years. My kids graduated from high school there. 

Simply put, the fine for removing a protected tree is now $1,500 per inch of diameter and I can tell you that there are some pretty big trees up there. The ordinance encourages conservation development. On top of that, Sammamish plans to set a goal to increase their canopy to 50%. Can El Paso increase their canopy? Maybe not to 50%, but we could sure do more truly to be a Tree City USA. 

Along with protecting trees, there is a need in El Paso to treat trees correctly. There is a proper way to prune in order to keeps trees healthy and beautiful and to ensure their longevity. 

As you can see from the picture at the top taken in east El Paso at a Seven-Eleven, there are really bad ways to treat trees. That is why it is so important to get people to attend this year's Sun Country Landscape Conference sponsored by the West Texas Urban Forestry Council.

Rather than a one day event as in the past, there will be three days each day devoted to a different community: tree and landscape workers (workshop in Spanish), green industry professionals and homeowners. Here's the press release:

Sun Country Landscaping Conference
November 19, 20, 21, 2015

“One Community, One Canopy: Learning Together, Growing Together” is the theme of this year’s Sun Country Landscaping Conference. The conference targets three groups: tree and landscape workers, green industry professionals and homeowners. The three day conference will devote one day to each group:

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 7:30 am to 12:00 pm – A Spanish language workshop with field demonstrations designed for tree and landscape workers will cover tree selection, installation and establishment, pruning, and diagnosis and plant disorder. Workshop will be held at the El Paso Garden Center, 3105 Grant Avenue at Memorial Park. The fee for the program is $30 or $50 after November 6. Space is limited so participants should register as soon as possible by calling 915-834-5610 or 915-771-2354.

Friday, November 20, 2015, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm – A one-day conference for the green industry professional will focus on landscape design and plant diversification. It will be held at the El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center on the UTEP campus. The Conference fee is $75 or $100 after November 6. Registration is required at 

Saturday, November 21, 2015, 8:30 am to 12:00 pm – Homeowners can learn the basic pruning needs for young trees and the tools that they should use in order to develop trees with a beautiful, appealing form. This half-day workshop will be held at the El Paso Garden Center, 3105 Grant Avenue at Memorial Park. The fee for the program is $15 or $20 after November 6. Registration is required as there is limited space. Go to or call 915-771-2354.

The Sun Country Landscaping Conference is sponsored by the West Texas Urban Forestry Council (Los Tree Amigos), a coalition of people who are interested in protecting and developing the urban community forest resources of West Texas and the El Paso Region. The Council strives to provide the most recent information and technological advances in tree care and maintenance.

Please help spread the word. Let's take care of our trees.

1 comment:

  1. This is great! Trees should be protected. So many of the trees here in El Paso are poorly pruned and look awful as a result. Proper tree maintenance needs to be taught and enforced. I'm glad this is taking place.