All About the Downtown Trees

by

Cheyenne has amazing tree potential and dedicated professionals working hard to enhance our urban greenery. We can all work together to enhance our current tree situation and make sure that we have trees to enjoy far into the future and for generations to come.

There are a lot of questions about the trees in downtown Cheyenne. Cheyenne Urban Forestry’s Jason Hardy answered many common concerns and provided some important information about Cheyenne’s trees, our tree programs, and how downtown Cheyenne can help support urban plant life to help simplify the tree situation for downtown business owners.

While these two programs are similar, both focusing on trees in Cheyenne, there are some important differences between the two. Rooted in Cheyenne is working to replace a dying tree canopy while trying to also create a diverse selection of tree species in our local canopy. They exclusively plant trees for residential purposes. Urban Forestry is trying to care for the parks, the downtown, and the cemeteries so that Cheyenne citizens can have a nice green space both for the present and future. Urban Forestry planted 350 trees and Rooted in Cheyenne did 110 this year alone! Urban Forestry assists with trees in public spaces and by businesses in downtown Cheyenne.

Two most common trees in all of Cheyenne are cottonwood and spruce. Those considering new trees downtown might be interested to know that right now, honey locusts are disproportionately represented. If we have a pest or illness hit Cheyenne that targets these trees, our canopy will have issues. Keeping this in mind, Hardy suggests that elms and oaks are solid choices for the downtown community when new trees are planted.

Bur oaks are the oak variety that do well downtown. They don’t need any soil remediation and they’re also hail resistant! They have thick bark that makes them a solid choice for our conditions. The major insect threat to these trees is a wasp type, and this is a cosmetic issue only, not a tree health one. They come between 6-8 feet tall from Forestry.

Elms are a faster growing option. They can grow between 6 inches and a foot every year after they’re planted. They’re also a long lived tree choice, with a lifespan of 80-100 years. This tree is a vase shape, so it’s a great choice by roads and right of ways. In addition, these elms are drought resistant. There are some pests that bother elms, in particular leaf beetles and bark beetles. The good news is that these won’t actually hurt the tree. The variety our city uses is resistant to Dutch Elm disease as well.

The third recommendation for downtown is a Linden. Lindens produce fragrant flowers, without a ton of pollen. They come big enough to flower right away. This choice is pollinator friendly, so if you’re concerned about bees and butterflies, this is a choice to consider.

If you don’t want a flowering tree and you’re trying to decide between an elm and an oak, the oak tree grows into a more majestic tree and also grows acorns. Our downtown squirrels will eat those acorns and then strip less bark from trees looking for food. More food for the squirrels in the form of acorns means less damage to trees!

If you’re interested in having a tree put in front of your business and would like to know more about the process, contact Urban Forestry. They will come out to your business and see what is appropriate. In addition, if you are doing new construction or renovations with a site plan Urban Forestry will help you pick trees! Trees need to be 20-25 ft apart to give them room to grow and thrive. They also need to take into account obstacles like alleyways, signs, and intersections. Urban Forestry does have trees short enough to go underneath power lines.

Urban Forestry maintains a website with the location and details of all of the trees in Cheyenne, available here. This is a useful tool if you’ve seen a tree that you particularly like and have wondered what it is, how old it is, or other details about the tree.

Rooted in Cheyenne takes volunteers twice a year for tree planting, in the spring and in the fall. You can sign up on their website. There are also watering maps available for volunteers to water the trees for people interested in helping Cheyenne trees survive the heat. Urban Forestry is currently not able to take volunteers for liability reasons.

Urban Forestry prunes all of the trees downtown on a schedule. One year they do all the trees on the east and west and the next year they do the north and south trees.

Cheyenne has amazing tree potential and dedicated professionals working hard to enhance our urban greenery. We can all work together to enhance our current tree situation and make sure that we have trees to enjoy far into the future and for generations to come.

X