Thankful for Trees and Their Benefits

Thankful for Trees and Their Benefits

From cleaning our air to fostering safe and sociable environments, trees impact our lives in countless positive ways. But the willingness of communities to recognize tree benefits and preserve their green investments will ultimately determine whether trees impact the lives of generations to come.

Davey Resource Group conducts tree inventories to quantify the number of trees in communities and determine ways to improve their urban forests. Read below to learn how Davey helped the City of Walnut Creek better understand the value of its urban forest.

Within the past several years, many cities have received grants to fund tree inventories, including the beautiful City of Walnut Creek, Calif., where London plane-lined boulevards have created outstanding upscale shopping areas, and the preserved open space is dotted with magnificent oak trees. The downtown central business district, which features several corridors, parks and city facilities, encompasses several clusters of green that add bits of visual interest to the town.

Because the forward-thinking management team of Walnut Creek understood trees are important aspects of the community, the city recognized the value in applying for a grant to offer assistance with its urban forest management.

BRANCHING OUT. In 2012, Davey Resource Group began a partial tree inventory of Walnut Creek, located within the San Francisco East Bay Area. The city had received a CalFire grant to provide funding for an inventory of 12,000 street and park trees. Although funding did not account for all 24,000 trees standing within the city, Walnut Creek's large variety of trees and species diversity resulted in a fun and interesting tree inventory endeavor for the tree-loving arborists involved.


tree inventory
Consulting Arborist Lori Murphy observes a tree standing within a city lot in Walnut Creek, Calif., where Davey completed a tree inventory in 2012. The data Davey collected will help the City better manage its urban forest.

Project Coordinator Steve Rounds and Consulting Arborists Lori Murphy and Naomi Rotramel were determined to complete the best tree inventory possible for Walnut Creek, given the time and resources available. To best prioritize data collection, Davey first evaluated available resources, client knowledge and needs.

"We met with city staff throughout the project to make sure the data we were collecting was what they needed for the trees they specified," Rounds explains. Davey collected basic tree attributes, such as species, size, height, condition, maintenance needs, sidewalk interference and damage, to coincide with CalFire's specific terms for the grant.

Because not all of the city's trees were inventoried, daily communication between Davey and city staff was important to ensure the client got exactly what it needed. Rounds, recognizing the mutually beneficial aspects of the project, adds, "The staff was very professional and easy to work with--it was a great experience all around."


walnut creek tree inventory
Murphy measures a Western redbud tree in downtown Walnut Creek.

CANOPY CONCLUSIONS. Davey completed Walnut Creek's tree inventory in two months, ultimately quantifying all factors of the city's tree population. "The data we collected helped determine whether too many or too few trees existed in certain areas, as well as which species to plant, maintenance needs and tree conditions--it ultimately helped them plan the city's urban forest," Rounds explains.

The city determined its new tree data was so significant, its management team created a video to highlight the value of trees in the community. "The value of the urban forest to most residents and visitors of Walnut Creek is the variety of trees you see in the core urban area and parks," explains Nancy Dollard, open space supervisor for Walnut Creek. (The video, titled, "Walnut Creek's Urban Forest," can be viewed on YouTube at

It didn't take long for community members to catch on to the benefits of the Davey tree inventory as well. "The community involvement we noticed was really interesting," Rounds explains. "Homeowners often approached the arborists as they worked, curious about what they were doing. This was a fun project to work on."

Ultimately, the inventory has been very valuable in helping Walnut Creek manage their urban forest. When more funding becomes available, Davey hopes to complete more tree inventories for Walnut Creek in the future. Until then, the city can breathe easy, better aware of the volume and traits of its trees, as well as how to generate more efficiency within its urban forestry management plans.


Add a comment:
Featured or Related Blog Posts
  • Tune In

    So I haven't played a comic book superhero with incredible powers like telekinesis or the ability to fly. And I haven't donned fangs and sported the trendy tall, dark and handsome vampire look. But, now and again, my fellow Davey arborists and I have something in common with such unique characters: doing something really cool and doing it with a "wow" factor you can see on television.

    That's right, Davey has enjoyed a few minutes of broadcast fame - admittedly not as much as those vampires or superheroes we all know and love - but it still counts, right?

    Our most popular eye candy? moving massive trees. You may or may not know this, but Davey has been moving trees since the 1920s! In fact, we've recently combined our operation with Environmental Design Inc., which equals more than a century of tree moving.

    Read More
  • "Leaf" It to Mother Nature: Falling for Creative Fall Crafts

    'Tis the season for tree canopies to explode with color. Tree leaves exemplify the sun's gradually diminishing heat as the brightest of warm hues paint splotches of color along the surface. Oranges, yellows , reds and plums drape each tree leaf with such beauty for such a brief period of time you can only wish it would last all year long.

    Although Mother Nature limits the highly anticipated fall foliage color show to only a few months of the year, you can preserve autumn's aura by dedicating a bit of extra care, attention and creativity to the leaves falling from the trees.

    Why not share the love you're feeling for fall by preserving some of its best assets--crisp, brightly colored leaves, freshly fallen from the trees--and transforming them into art? Dry and press them like flower petals between the pages of old books and newspapers. Hang them like garland from the railings along your staircase or front porch. Or coat them in wax or Mod Podge® to protect the leaves from losing their color throughout the coming seasons.

    Read More
  • Cherry Crush

    For centuries, trees have been planted to honor an accomplishment, important milestone or rite of passage - birth, graduation, wedding, retirement, death, to name a few.

    And the specific type of tree chosen usually has some symbolic meaning relative to the event. For instance, the oak tree has always been a symbol of strength and courage - "the mighty oak," they always say. And the Bonsai tree has long symbolized harmony, peace and balance.

    When someone plants one tree to mark a triumph, it's quite significant. But in early April this year, when I was in Washington, D.C. traveling for Davey Tree, I saw such a stunning display of trees and realized when someone plants many trees in a symbolic fashion, the result can be extraordinary.

    Read More
  • Happy Arbor Day!

    Don't worry, I won't be long-winded today. Just hope you'll join me in celebrating National Arbor Day. If you're a tree buff like I am, this is truly a great holiday!

    While you're celebrating your trees today, take a few minutes and check out a website that some of my friends at Davey just launched. It's a place where you can share your tree stories and memories. I'm planning to do that myself soon, and I hope to see your story there!


    Read More
  • The Bird-y Bunch

    It's a rainy, gray Saturday morning in spring. Our previously planned trip to the local park is canceled - wet bottoms and mud pies just don't seem that appealing today when we were longing for shorts and sunshine.

    Yet, despite the initial disappointment, my 8-year-old daughter picks up her spirits quicker than I do. She spends at least an hour marveling at the birds out of our family room windows. They flit and flutter from tree to tree and back and forth to the two bird feeders we have hanging from hawthorn trees.

    Little wrens, chickadees and nuthatches are always present, hopping next to the slower, fatter, cooing doves. Then, in a bright red streak, the cardinal flies in, going from the trees straight to the ground, picking up the seed the other smaller birds have discarded.

    Read More

Request a consultation

What do you need services for?
Sorry, we can’t seem to find the zip code you specified. Our residential tree care offices may not service your area. If you believe this is an error, please try again. Need help? Email us at
  • Email newsletter
  • Woodchips
*Please fill out all required fields.