Friends of the Urban Forest to plant 50,000th tree August 1

A Bronze Loquat destined for West Portal is star of the day

July 30, 2015 — Friends of the Urban Forest will plant its 50,000th street tree on Saturday, August 1 in San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood. A Bronze Loquat (Eriobotrya deflexa), a compact tree native to China, has been designated the “official 50,000th tree” and will be planted at 1650 Portola Drive.

“For more than three decades, thousands of San Franciscans have rolled up their sleeves and made our streets more beautiful and more livable by planting trees,” said Dan Flanagan, FUF’s executive director. “The planting of our 50,000th tree is a measure of the great gift they’ve given to everyone who lives in, works in, and visits San Francisco. We dedicate this planting to them.”

The tree will be planted during one of FUF’s regular twice-monthly neighborhood tree plantings. FUF schedules plantings in any San Francisco neighborhood in which residents have requested at least 30 new trees. The non-profit organization has been planting trees in city sidewalks since it was founded in 1981.

FUF estimates that the 50,000 trees it has planted collectively provide the following benefits:*

  • Divert 28,964,518 gallons of water from the sewer system each year
  • Store 1,770 tons of carbon each year
  • Filter 3.8 tons of atmospheric pollutants each year
  • Have an estimated capital value (replacement cost) of $54,308,472
  • Provide $5,954,950 in estimated total benefits each year

With only 13.7% of its land area covered by trees, San Francisco is one of the least leafy cities in the nation. Despite its “green” reputation, San Francisco ranks only 17th among the 20 most populous U.S. cities in its tree canopy coverage. Worse yet, our urban forest is shrinking, because tree mortality is currently outpacing tree planting; the San Francisco city government has allocated very little funding to its own tree planting program in recent years.

FUF estimates that so far, street trees have been planted in only about half of the eligible locations in the city.

The day’s planting event will begin at 9 a.m. outside 30 Vasquez Avenue, where FUF’s executive director Dan Flanagan will welcome volunteers and residents and speak about the milestone of planting the 50,000th tree. Supervisor Scott Wiener, a strong advocate for San Francisco’s urban forest, will also give remarks.

IMAGE: Bronze Loquat tree

Friends of the Urban Forest helps individuals and neighborhood groups to plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco. By greening the streets of San Francisco, FUF supports the health and livability of the urban environment.

*To arrive at these figures, FUF used the benefits data on pages 5-6 of the April 2013 Street Tree Census to calculate an average per-tree benefit, then multiplied it by 50,000, then reduced it by 25% to account for tree mortality and the likelihood that the FUF-planted trees are on average less mature than the trees included in the census.