Certified arborists from Davey Resource Group (DRG) conduct tree inventories to assess urban conditions and determine how to improve trees’ quality of life—and ability to provide benefits—despite less-than-ideal environments.
The City of Largo, Florida, contracted DRG to complete an inventory and review the condition of the urban forest in the city. The project focused on the inventory and evaluation of more than 12,000 trees and palms within city street right-of-ways, parks and properties throughout Largo.
DRG submitted a proposal and received approval to complete the project, thanks to Geographic Information System/Information Technology (GIS/IT) software, a specialized team of certified arborists and a history of similar, successful inventory projects comparable to what the City of Largo requested.
Business Developer Shirley Vaughn and Project Manager Aren Flint were the brains behind the operation; they were determined to complete a full and detailed report for the Largo community in less than two months. They succeeded.
“The city wanted to know about the condition and maintenance needs of its trees to effectively budget and increase public safety by addressing the needs that were identified,” Vaughn says.
The City of Largo and DRG planned and implemented the inventory as part of the U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Matching Grant Program. The program helps fund projects that lead to more effective and efficient management of urban and community forests.
To complete the project, DRG arborists inventoried 7,815 trees and palms along streets and 4,234 trees within parks or other city property boundaries, totaling 12,049 trees and palms. They collected data such as tree and palm location, type, trunk size, current condition, and height.
“Tree inventories are so important because you cannot manage effectively what you don’t know you have,” Vaughn says.
Thanks to the inventory and evaluation from DRG, the City of Largo now has the resource to create a systematic program for tree care. The program will allow for future cost benefits, including those for budget, staff, and equipment.
Vaughn says the City planned to create a master plan with the inventory data, input from the city staff and a future urban tree canopy assessment to create a guide for future tree planting and maintenance.