Fairfax Supervisors Have Goals to Increase Tree Canopy

Planting trees at Walker Nature Center in Reston/file photoThe Fairfax County Board of Supervisors hopes that the county will have 5 percent more trees by 2037.

The 30-years goals for the tree canopy are based on recommendations in the Tree Action Plan, funded by the Environmental Improvement Program.

The goal, formally adopted in 2007, is to increase Fairfax County’s tree cover to 45 percent by the year 2037. Currently, the county has 40 percent tree cover. If tree planting efforts are not increased, by 2037 Fairfax could lose approximately 4 percent of its tree canopy cover.

To reach that goal, an additional 2 million trees — an average of 83,740 trees annually — will have to be planted, says the Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division. However, they point out that if every resident in Fairfax County plants two trees for every member of their household over the next 30 years, the county will exceed its longterm goal.

The county says it is limited by available space. here. There are only 4,200 acres available for tree planting on county-owned properties and commonly-owned open spaces. Therefore, the majority of tree planting required to meet the 30-year tree canopy goal will have to occur on privately-owned residential lots.

Here is what citizens can do to help Fairfax reach its goal:

  • Plant trees on your property.  Plant about 20 feet away from your home on the western exposures for optimum energy conservation.
  • Plant at least one tree per car in your household to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Get involved with community tree planting groups such as Fairfax ReLeaf and Earth Sangha.  For more information, visit www.fairfaxreleaf.org or www.earthsangha.org.
  • Advocate for tree planting on commonly-owned open spaces in your community.
  • Remember that all trees need to be maintained after they are planted. Visit the Virginia Department of Extension for more information about tree planting and maintenance.
  • Be sure to plant the right tree in the right place.  Use the Fairfax County Public Facilities Manual as a guide.
  • Preserve trees during construction.

The Reston Comprehensive Plan Amendment, adopted by the Board of Supervisors earlier this year, says preservation of natural resources, including “use of closely spaced street trees and landscaping in open space areas to increase tree canopy in the  transit station areas,” is a key element of Reston’s future.

Friends of Reston donated 50 trees to the community in honor of Reston’s 50th anniversary. The trees were planted on Arbor Day. Reston is a Tree City USA as certified by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Photo: Tree planting at Walker Nature Center in Reston/file photo



Photo: New trees planted on Fairfax County property/Credit: Fairfax County

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