Keeping Our Urban Forest Healthy and Growing

Lakewood Trees.jpgRogers Lakewood Park The city of Valparaiso has a strong commitment to a healthy and diverse urban forest. For more than a decade, the Horticulture Division of Valparaiso Parks has been dedicated to utilizing native and non-invasive species. Awareness of invasive species that threaten our native wildlife has guided planting and restoration projects that help preserve our unique North American and northern Indiana ecosystems. Various grant awards have funded native tree planting along city streets, the establishment of a 2-acre arboretum adjacent to Foundation Meadows with over 30 native tree species, and the restoration of Forest Park’s oak and hickory woodland habitat.

Lincolnway trees.jpgShingle oak on Lincolnway In addition to the work done by Parks, the Department of Public Works maintains the trees on city property along Valpo's streets. A city-wide tree inventory completed in 2009 recorded 8,811 street trees and provided maintenance recommendations for each, assisting in our goal of keeping residents safe and trees viable. To manage this forest, Public Works retains a staff arborist who evaluates the health and safety of our trees.

Over 7,000 vacant planting sites have also been identified, for which we have dedicated funds budgeted for tree replacement. The city knows tree planting is a wise investment. Trees are our only infrastructure assets that increase in value with age, but eventually they need replacing--whether they succumb to storm damage, disease, pests or simply old age. We have a responsibility to replant so we can continue to enjoy the many benefits of these good neighbors.

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