Sep 03, 2021 - 01:33 pm CDT

Trees provide important benefits to our community and are difficult to replace. It is important to keep them healthy. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing Austin trees is lack of water. When trees don’t receive the water that they need for a long period of time, they become stressed. Stressed trees are more prone to pests or diseases, and this leads to their decline and death.

 

When to water

Most trees need to be watered if we have not received at least one inch of rain for one week. This varies with tree age, tree species, and the type of soil.  In west Austin, the soil layer is thin and loses moisture quickly. In many parts of east Austin, the soil has more clay and might be over two feet deep. Clay soil tends to soak up water slowly, then hold it a long time. Some parts of Austin have gravelly or sandy soil that dries out quickly. The best way to know when to water is to dig into the soil and see if it’s dry. Once you get to know your soil, you will get better at predicting when your tree should be watered.

Photo of a tree with leaves browning and falling early due to drought.

Image 1: At the end of a hot summer, this tree's leaves are turning brown and falling early. Proper irrigation could help it recover.

Since most tree roots are close to the surface, you only need to check for moisture in the top 6-12 inches of soil. If you find that the soil is dry or barely damp, you should water. At first, you might want to use a shovel so you can get a good look at where the soil is moist. With practice, you can learn this by feel using a screwdriver--it can easily be pushed into moist soil, while dry soil offers more resistance. For best results, water early in the morning to reduce loss from evaporation.

A photo of screwdrivers inserted into soil showing difference between wet and dry.

Image 2: With practice, you can learn to test your soil with a screwdriver so you know when it's time to water.

How to water

Some watering methods are better than others. An occasional slow soaking is better than frequent, short bursts. Overhead sprinklers are simple and affordable, but tend to waste water. A licensed irrigator can install automatic systems to accommodate trees' special needs. Soaker hoses generally do the best job at getting the water into the soil. Add a layer of mulch over the hoses for even better results.

photo of a person pouring a bucket of water ono a tree's root zone

Image 3: Trees are well adapted to receive water from the surface. Even pouring from a bucket helps. It's important to pour slowly enough to allow the water to soak in around the trees root zone.

Landscape with sprinklers spraying water across a landscape with trees.

Image 4: Water sprayed over the surface of a landscape will benefit trees, but some is lost to evaporation. It's best to finish watering before the day heats up.

Tree trunk surrounded by rings of soaker hose

Image 5: An array of soaker hoses allows water to seep into soil slowly. Cover it with a layer of mulch to reduce evaporation from the soil surface.

Photo of a tree surrounded by mulch with tape measure to demonstrate how to measure mulch depth.

Image 6: Mulch works best in a layer three to four inches deep.

Where to water

Most tree roots live near the surface and spread outward up to three times the height of the tree. So, instead of watering at the base of the tree trunk, water should be spread throughout the root zone. Even if we can’t get water everywhere we want it, watering wherever possible will help the tree survive.

drawing of a landscape that shows the roots extending beyond the tree's branches.

               Image 7: Most tree roots are not very deep in the soil, but they spread outward far beyond the branches.

How much water

We know to check our soil to see when to water, but how do we know when to turn off the water? It will vary based on the type of tree, the age of the tree, the soil type, and how you are applying the water. If you are using a soaker hose, let it run for 30 minutes, then check on how far the water actually moved down into the soil.  You can stop watering when water has soaked down 6 inches or more.

Tree age is important. For example:

  • A young tree won’t have as many roots and they won’t reach out as far as a mature one. Concentrate more water near the stem.
  • A tree that grew naturally will have wider, deeper roots than a transplant from a nursery. Water a larger area around the tree.
  • Newly planted trees might need to be watered twice a week or more. Check the container soil, not the surrounding lawn.
  • Check soil weekly for trees that are vulnerable. Give extra care to trees for the first three years after planting. Other at-risk trees include those with pests or disease and very old ones that have begun to decline.
  • Mature, established trees can usually manage without water for two to four weeks. Just be sure to water thoroughly when the soil becomes dry.
Resources:

You can get free mulch for your trees and plants from Austin Resource Recovery. Bring your own tools and containers.

You can learn about current watering restrictions and find your watering days at the Austin Water site.

 

Think Trees Logo

This information is sponsored by the City of Austin. Learn more about trees and resources at the Tree Information Center! 

www.austintexas.gov/trees 

Apr 20, 2021 - 12:38 pm CDT

Written by Pearl Morosky, 2020 Youth Forest Council Member

 

All the trees in Austin need care and attention to grow and flourish, but with 33 million trees in the city, it takes a community to give every tree the care it needs. To help solve this problem, different community groups, many of whom rely heavily on volunteers, have stepped up to care for Austin’s trees. One of the largest groups is the Austin Parks Foundation (APF). This local Austin nonprofit provides resources, programming, and funding for our parks, with support from the City.  

The City of Austin's Urban Forest Program provides funding to APF through the Urban Forest Grant, which supports different community groups and organizations in projects that support and grow our urban forest. An important part of the City’s effort to maintain and grow our urban forest is supporting the Austin Parks Foundation, which in turn helps to make sure Austin’s trees get the care they need.  

In 2019, the Urban Forest Grant gave just over $100,000 to APF to help with its efforts to care for the urban forest. In comparison, the calculated value of all volunteer time given through APF in 2019 comes out to over $500,000! With financial support of the Urban Forest Grant, in 2020, despite COVID-19 restrictions, APF successfully completed 112 tree-related projects across the city. APF serves as the parent organization of 120 Adopt-A-Park groups, giving them valuable connections to eager volunteers across the entire city. By partnering with APF, the City is able to maximize the value of the money put towards supporting our urban forest. 

The map below shows all the projects completed by APF with support from the Urban Forest Grant from 2018-2020. 

 

Austin map with orange markers showing caring projects and green markers showing growing projects

Explore the map.

 

One of the most important ways the City supports the Austin Parks Foundation is by helping facilitate It’s-My-Park Day, during which a great number of tree care projects are accomplished. Through the City’s support, APF provides tools, mulch, and volunteer coordination for this biannual day of service. This support helps to maximize the value of the time given by the 3,000+ volunteers on It’s-My-Park Day. 

Many of the projects accomplished by the City and APF, on It’s-My-Park Day and beyond, are related to tree mulching. While mulching may seem mundane, it can go a great length in caring for trees.  

Mulch: 

  • releases nutrients into the soil through decomposition 
  • protects soil from erosion 
  • minimizes loss of soil moisture 
  • regulates temperature 

The last three are especially important in Austin’s climate, as hot weather can dry out soil and negatively affect tree roots. APF has completed mulchings, with support from the Urban Forest Grant, all over Austin, in parks from Mayfield to Wells Branch to Dittmar. The Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center provides free mulch (made from recovered yard trimmings) to Austinites interested in caring for trees on their property! 

 

Photo: A man and woman smile at the camera while holding shovels full of mulchPhoto: Two woman smile at the camera in front of a tree with mulch

 

The Urban Forest Grant also provides funds for larger-scale park renovations to promote growing and caring for the urban forest in that park. For example, when North Oaks park was renovated in 2019 to include updated play structures, the Urban Forest Grant provided $10,000 for tree planting. Such support allows parks to care for and grow our urban forest during renovation.  

All Austinites can be involved in preserving our urban forest! One of the most hands-on ways to do this is to get involved in a Park Adoption with the Austin Parks Foundation. Park Adopters help care for and maintain their neighborhood parks and help put on It’s-My-Park Day. For more information on adoptable parks, or to join an existing group, click visit the Adopt-A-Park wepage. The Austin Parks Foundation also offers lots of volunteer opportunities for individuals and families, many of which involve the urban forest. Volunteers are an invaluable resource for caring for our urban forest and allow Austin’s urban forest to keep on thriving! 

 


 

This blog post was written as a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Feb 12, 2021 - 10:30 am CST

Written by Antonia; October 23, 2020

One of the most exciting aspects of leaving for college, for me, was the fact that I would have so many new areas to explore. So, of course, I used the free time I had to look around campus and find all of the hidden, interesting places, both indoors and outdoors. Luckily, I made a friend who was also rather adventurous and we’d plan days to go out and see if we could find something new. From a strange, deserted basement with a room full of puppets to an old cemetery surrounded by trees, we definitely found some interesting stuff. 

Although I wasn’t with my friend when I filmed this tree, we did find it together behind one of the dorms on one of our adventures. From where I sat on a hill near the tree, gazing up at it as it towered over me, I could hear grade-school students practicing soccer at the school across the street and the dozens of cars that passed by on the busy road below. 

 


Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

Feb 10, 2021 - 10:20 am CST

Written by Edgar; November 2020

 

Midterms are one of the most stressful times as a college student. During stressful times, going to the park and listening to the wind blow through trees is therapeutic for me.  Losing myself in peaceful thoughts can help clear my mind, so that I can go back to daily life feeling more positive.

Can you guess the tree which these leaves belong to? Here is my guess.

 

    

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest

 

Feb 08, 2021 - 09:39 am CST

Written by Evelyn; October 9, 2020

 

Ever since I was little, I’ve had a love for learning. Cousins and friends would question me as I learned the multiplication tables on weekends and had extra books for fun. Although it may look different today, my love for learning is still relevant. In my current writing seminar, I have been learning about disability studies. It’s really interesting to delve deep into a topic I had no experience in and learn how my identity and my position in society can affect disabled individuals. One of the assignments in my class is writing a paper on disability studies and another topic of my choosing. I chose green spaces and nature. After reading a novel (Feminist, Queer, Crip by Alison Kafer) and doing research, it’s consistently shown how disabled individuals have been marginalized from nature —  from the stereotypical “fit” body to assuming parks are dangerous to simply not extending opportunities. Studies have also shown that spending time in nature decreases stress levels and increases confidence. Before taking this class and participating in the Youth Forest Council internship, I assumed nature was accessible to everyone — it's nature! But time and time again, I have been exposed to the work we as a society still have to do in order to create equitable access to green spaces. What can you contribute to equity in nature? 

         

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Jan 14, 2021 - 04:22 pm CST

 

Written by Evelyn; October 1, 2020

 

Sometimes all one needs is some food for the soul. For me, spending time in nature solves that. Bike riding, hiking, or even sitting in my backyard on the trampoline as the sun sets. I am currently in a part of my life where a lot of things are changing. New doors are opening and I’m growing more curious about the world. The pandemic has caused a lot of last-minute planning, but having time to meditate helps. Feeling the breeze on my skin, the birds communicating with each other, leaves rustling. It all brings my head back down.

We all think about how nature needs us, but I think we need nature more.  

Can you guess what tree this leaf is from? My guess is here

 

     

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Jan 08, 2021 - 12:32 pm CST

Banner that says "Stories Through Nature: a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council". The words are hand written and playful. The text is surrounded by illustrations of leaves.

Written by Antonia; August 26, 2020

For the last tree I would be filming in Austin, I decided to film the Ashe Juniper tree in my backyard. I’ve always loved Junipers, although I’m not entirely sure why, and it’s always been my favorite tree near my house. I’ve always watched it through my kitchen window while doing the dishes, hoping to catch sight of a cardinal or mockingbird landing on its branches. Such moments, though small, brought me a lot of happiness.  

As I sat in my backyard, beneath this tree, it began to sink in that I wouldn’t be at home for a while. Until then, I hadn’t really registered how far from home I would be and, while I didn’t feel scared about it, I felt a bit of shock regarding how big my next step in life would be. I used this moment to think about this, listening to the sound of wind chimes in the distance and birds in the trees around me.  

(Also, at one point, my neighbors’ chickens hopped over our fence and began exploring our backyard, which was very fun to watch).

 


Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Jan 04, 2021 - 04:57 pm CST

Written by Edgar; September 2020

 

The beginning of my college days began in a new city during a pandemic. Everyone wore masks and followed COVID regulations. It felt welcoming and fresh. Trees align the streets of Boston University allowing me to appreciate all sorts of colors during fall. 2020 has been a rough year, however these colorful trees have given me energy to keep going through this weird year.

Can you guess which tree these leaves belong to? Click here for my guess!

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Jan 04, 2021 - 04:17 pm CST

Banner: Stories Through Nature - a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council

Written by Evelyn; September 28, 2020

 

By now, I would have been in Philly — meeting other freshman, adjusting to a new city, new weather. Unfortunately, 2020 had different plans in mind. My college campus decided to close for the fall semester one week before I was meant to fly out. I was so looking forward to living with my best friend and starting a new chapter of my life. After missing out on prom, graduation, and a pennant ceremony, college was the one thing that shouldn’t have gone wrong.

This surprise has brought around a lot of good things though. I am happy to be spending more time with my friends and family at home. I have had more opportunities arise and I’m getting to know Austin’s greenspaces little by little. Although this isn’t what I imagined this fall to look like, I do believe things happen for a reason.  

These next couple of leaves were found at Barkley Meadows on an early and cool Saturday morning.  

Can you guess what it is? My guess is here

  

Image: Leaf rubbing showing details of a lobed leaf 2 to 5 inches wide.

Photo: A rusty colored leaf with lobes is held between two fingers.   Photo: A small tree with a green canopy and many lobed leaves in a park on a bright, sunny day.

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Dec 18, 2020 - 03:05 pm CST

 

In 2020, the City of Austin's Community Tree Preservation Division released the Community Tree Priority Map. This resource prioritization tool is for everyone to use including city programs, partners, policy makers, Urban Forest Grant applicants, arborists and more. It provides access to relevant data comparable across Austin’s neighborhoods. For example, tree canopy data helps uncover disparities in historically under-canopied areas. This enables people to decide where activities like planting, tree care, and community outreach could occur around Austin. 

Developing the tool entailed consulting with many people, including arborists, planners, tree planters, students, and others. Youth engagement proved instrumental in establishing the relative weight of the priorities.    

Additionally, the City's Youth Forest Council and Park Ranger Cadets expressed their admiration through words of gratitude and letters to trees. One participant wrote,  

“I am thankful for the shade trees bring on hot summer days. I am thankful for the way they calm me down so I am able to listen to nature and feel at ease. I am thankful for the clean air they give me so I am able to breathe.”  

The map matches survey priorities with data points including tree canopy, temperature, mental health, and air pollution. It then bakes this info into a simple score. In the map, red equals higher scores. Higher scores mean higher priority. This is where we’d like to invest more planting and stewardship activities.

In the end, priority areas help us gauge success. For instance, are activities like tree planting occurring in higher priority areas? So far the data tell us, 60% of tree planting occurred in the moderate to highest need areas over the last five years. Moving forward, we will encourage future projects in priority areas. 

 

Austin’s Community Tree Priority Map 

Interested in learning more? View the interactive map here!

 

About the Map

The Community Tree Priority Map is organized into 5 categories: lowest, low, moderate, high, and highest priority. Categories are equally divided into Austin’s census tracks. The top three highest priority areas (moderate, high, highest) represent 60% of Austin's highest scoring census tracks. Higher scores mean higher need and higher priority for trees and urban forest stewardship investment.

Calculating Priority Scores

Nine data inputs are standardized and summed across Environment, Social Vulnerability, Community Investment, and Health & Well-Being categories. Each category was normalized to minimize its impact on the priority score.   

 

Article contributed by Alan Halter, GIS Analyst Senior with the Community Tree Preservation Division. Email your questions to Alan by clicking here.  

 

Additional Information  

Stewardship Investment: The Community Tree Report seeks to share how the City invests in the activities that support Austin’s urban forest and community of stewards. The Report features investment visualizations, an interactive map of projects, and the raw data for your own analysis project.  

Urban Forest Benefits: Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (UFIA) completed an assessment in Austin in 2016. Austin’s urban forest monitoring program and produces estimates of the quantity, health, composition, and benefits of urban trees and forests. 

City of Austin Strategic Direction 2023 (SD23) Alignment: Tree Planting Prioritization Map supports the SD23 Government that works for all (GTW.10).  

Do you have an idea to benefit Austin's urban forest in high priority areas? We encourage you to explore and apply for the Urban Forest Grant, which can help fund your tree-related ideas.

 

Apr 20, 2021 - 12:38 pm CDT

Written by Pearl Morosky, 2020 Youth Forest Council Member

 

All the trees in Austin need care and attention to grow and flourish, but with 33 million trees in the city, it takes a community to give every tree the care it needs. To help solve this problem, different community groups, many of whom rely heavily on volunteers, have stepped up to care for Austin’s trees. One of the largest groups is the Austin Parks Foundation (APF). This local Austin nonprofit provides resources, programming, and funding for our parks, with support from the City.  

The City of Austin's Urban Forest Program provides funding to APF through the Urban Forest Grant, which supports different community groups and organizations in projects that support and grow our urban forest. An important part of the City’s effort to maintain and grow our urban forest is supporting the Austin Parks Foundation, which in turn helps to make sure Austin’s trees get the care they need.  

In 2019, the Urban Forest Grant gave just over $100,000 to APF to help with its efforts to care for the urban forest. In comparison, the calculated value of all volunteer time given through APF in 2019 comes out to over $500,000! With financial support of the Urban Forest Grant, in 2020, despite COVID-19 restrictions, APF successfully completed 112 tree-related projects across the city. APF serves as the parent organization of 120 Adopt-A-Park groups, giving them valuable connections to eager volunteers across the entire city. By partnering with APF, the City is able to maximize the value of the money put towards supporting our urban forest. 

The map below shows all the projects completed by APF with support from the Urban Forest Grant from 2018-2020. 

 

Austin map with orange markers showing caring projects and green markers showing growing projects

Explore the map.

 

One of the most important ways the City supports the Austin Parks Foundation is by helping facilitate It’s-My-Park Day, during which a great number of tree care projects are accomplished. Through the City’s support, APF provides tools, mulch, and volunteer coordination for this biannual day of service. This support helps to maximize the value of the time given by the 3,000+ volunteers on It’s-My-Park Day. 

Many of the projects accomplished by the City and APF, on It’s-My-Park Day and beyond, are related to tree mulching. While mulching may seem mundane, it can go a great length in caring for trees.  

Mulch: 

  • releases nutrients into the soil through decomposition 
  • protects soil from erosion 
  • minimizes loss of soil moisture 
  • regulates temperature 

The last three are especially important in Austin’s climate, as hot weather can dry out soil and negatively affect tree roots. APF has completed mulchings, with support from the Urban Forest Grant, all over Austin, in parks from Mayfield to Wells Branch to Dittmar. The Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center provides free mulch (made from recovered yard trimmings) to Austinites interested in caring for trees on their property! 

 

Photo: A man and woman smile at the camera while holding shovels full of mulchPhoto: Two woman smile at the camera in front of a tree with mulch

 

The Urban Forest Grant also provides funds for larger-scale park renovations to promote growing and caring for the urban forest in that park. For example, when North Oaks park was renovated in 2019 to include updated play structures, the Urban Forest Grant provided $10,000 for tree planting. Such support allows parks to care for and grow our urban forest during renovation.  

All Austinites can be involved in preserving our urban forest! One of the most hands-on ways to do this is to get involved in a Park Adoption with the Austin Parks Foundation. Park Adopters help care for and maintain their neighborhood parks and help put on It’s-My-Park Day. For more information on adoptable parks, or to join an existing group, click visit the Adopt-A-Park wepage. The Austin Parks Foundation also offers lots of volunteer opportunities for individuals and families, many of which involve the urban forest. Volunteers are an invaluable resource for caring for our urban forest and allow Austin’s urban forest to keep on thriving! 

 


 

This blog post was written as a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Feb 12, 2021 - 10:30 am CST

Written by Antonia; October 23, 2020

One of the most exciting aspects of leaving for college, for me, was the fact that I would have so many new areas to explore. So, of course, I used the free time I had to look around campus and find all of the hidden, interesting places, both indoors and outdoors. Luckily, I made a friend who was also rather adventurous and we’d plan days to go out and see if we could find something new. From a strange, deserted basement with a room full of puppets to an old cemetery surrounded by trees, we definitely found some interesting stuff. 

Although I wasn’t with my friend when I filmed this tree, we did find it together behind one of the dorms on one of our adventures. From where I sat on a hill near the tree, gazing up at it as it towered over me, I could hear grade-school students practicing soccer at the school across the street and the dozens of cars that passed by on the busy road below. 

 


Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

Nature in the City – Austin
Feb 10, 2021 - 10:20 am CST

Written by Edgar; November 2020

 

Midterms are one of the most stressful times as a college student. During stressful times, going to the park and listening to the wind blow through trees is therapeutic for me.  Losing myself in peaceful thoughts can help clear my mind, so that I can go back to daily life feeling more positive.

Can you guess the tree which these leaves belong to? Here is my guess.

 

    

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Feb 08, 2021 - 09:39 am CST

Written by Evelyn; October 9, 2020

 

Ever since I was little, I’ve had a love for learning. Cousins and friends would question me as I learned the multiplication tables on weekends and had extra books for fun. Although it may look different today, my love for learning is still relevant. In my current writing seminar, I have been learning about disability studies. It’s really interesting to delve deep into a topic I had no experience in and learn how my identity and my position in society can affect disabled individuals. One of the assignments in my class is writing a paper on disability studies and another topic of my choosing. I chose green spaces and nature. After reading a novel (Feminist, Queer, Crip by Alison Kafer) and doing research, it’s consistently shown how disabled individuals have been marginalized from nature —  from the stereotypical “fit” body to assuming parks are dangerous to simply not extending opportunities. Studies have also shown that spending time in nature decreases stress levels and increases confidence. Before taking this class and participating in the Youth Forest Council internship, I assumed nature was accessible to everyone — it's nature! But time and time again, I have been exposed to the work we as a society still have to do in order to create equitable access to green spaces. What can you contribute to equity in nature? 

         

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Jan 14, 2021 - 04:22 pm CST

 

Written by Evelyn; October 1, 2020

 

Sometimes all one needs is some food for the soul. For me, spending time in nature solves that. Bike riding, hiking, or even sitting in my backyard on the trampoline as the sun sets. I am currently in a part of my life where a lot of things are changing. New doors are opening and I’m growing more curious about the world. The pandemic has caused a lot of last-minute planning, but having time to meditate helps. Feeling the breeze on my skin, the birds communicating with each other, leaves rustling. It all brings my head back down.

We all think about how nature needs us, but I think we need nature more.  

Can you guess what tree this leaf is from? My guess is here

 

     

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Jan 08, 2021 - 12:32 pm CST

Banner that says "Stories Through Nature: a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council". The words are hand written and playful. The text is surrounded by illustrations of leaves.

Written by Antonia; August 26, 2020

For the last tree I would be filming in Austin, I decided to film the Ashe Juniper tree in my backyard. I’ve always loved Junipers, although I’m not entirely sure why, and it’s always been my favorite tree near my house. I’ve always watched it through my kitchen window while doing the dishes, hoping to catch sight of a cardinal or mockingbird landing on its branches. Such moments, though small, brought me a lot of happiness.  

As I sat in my backyard, beneath this tree, it began to sink in that I wouldn’t be at home for a while. Until then, I hadn’t really registered how far from home I would be and, while I didn’t feel scared about it, I felt a bit of shock regarding how big my next step in life would be. I used this moment to think about this, listening to the sound of wind chimes in the distance and birds in the trees around me.  

(Also, at one point, my neighbors’ chickens hopped over our fence and began exploring our backyard, which was very fun to watch).

 


Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Jan 04, 2021 - 04:57 pm CST

Written by Edgar; September 2020

 

The beginning of my college days began in a new city during a pandemic. Everyone wore masks and followed COVID regulations. It felt welcoming and fresh. Trees align the streets of Boston University allowing me to appreciate all sorts of colors during fall. 2020 has been a rough year, however these colorful trees have given me energy to keep going through this weird year.

Can you guess which tree these leaves belong to? Click here for my guess!

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Jan 04, 2021 - 04:17 pm CST

Banner: Stories Through Nature - a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council

Written by Evelyn; September 28, 2020

 

By now, I would have been in Philly — meeting other freshman, adjusting to a new city, new weather. Unfortunately, 2020 had different plans in mind. My college campus decided to close for the fall semester one week before I was meant to fly out. I was so looking forward to living with my best friend and starting a new chapter of my life. After missing out on prom, graduation, and a pennant ceremony, college was the one thing that shouldn’t have gone wrong.

This surprise has brought around a lot of good things though. I am happy to be spending more time with my friends and family at home. I have had more opportunities arise and I’m getting to know Austin’s greenspaces little by little. Although this isn’t what I imagined this fall to look like, I do believe things happen for a reason.  

These next couple of leaves were found at Barkley Meadows on an early and cool Saturday morning.  

Can you guess what it is? My guess is here

  

Image: Leaf rubbing showing details of a lobed leaf 2 to 5 inches wide.

Photo: A rusty colored leaf with lobes is held between two fingers.   Photo: A small tree with a green canopy and many lobed leaves in a park on a bright, sunny day.

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Dec 18, 2020 - 03:05 pm CST

 

In 2020, the City of Austin's Community Tree Preservation Division released the Community Tree Priority Map. This resource prioritization tool is for everyone to use including city programs, partners, policy makers, Urban Forest Grant applicants, arborists and more. It provides access to relevant data comparable across Austin’s neighborhoods. For example, tree canopy data helps uncover disparities in historically under-canopied areas. This enables people to decide where activities like planting, tree care, and community outreach could occur around Austin. 

Developing the tool entailed consulting with many people, including arborists, planners, tree planters, students, and others. Youth engagement proved instrumental in establishing the relative weight of the priorities.    

Additionally, the City's Youth Forest Council and Park Ranger Cadets expressed their admiration through words of gratitude and letters to trees. One participant wrote,  

“I am thankful for the shade trees bring on hot summer days. I am thankful for the way they calm me down so I am able to listen to nature and feel at ease. I am thankful for the clean air they give me so I am able to breathe.”  

The map matches survey priorities with data points including tree canopy, temperature, mental health, and air pollution. It then bakes this info into a simple score. In the map, red equals higher scores. Higher scores mean higher priority. This is where we’d like to invest more planting and stewardship activities.

In the end, priority areas help us gauge success. For instance, are activities like tree planting occurring in higher priority areas? So far the data tell us, 60% of tree planting occurred in the moderate to highest need areas over the last five years. Moving forward, we will encourage future projects in priority areas. 

 

Austin’s Community Tree Priority Map 

Interested in learning more? View the interactive map here!

 

About the Map

The Community Tree Priority Map is organized into 5 categories: lowest, low, moderate, high, and highest priority. Categories are equally divided into Austin’s census tracks. The top three highest priority areas (moderate, high, highest) represent 60% of Austin's highest scoring census tracks. Higher scores mean higher need and higher priority for trees and urban forest stewardship investment.

Calculating Priority Scores

Nine data inputs are standardized and summed across Environment, Social Vulnerability, Community Investment, and Health & Well-Being categories. Each category was normalized to minimize its impact on the priority score.   

 

Article contributed by Alan Halter, GIS Analyst Senior with the Community Tree Preservation Division. Email your questions to Alan by clicking here.  

 

Additional Information  

Stewardship Investment: The Community Tree Report seeks to share how the City invests in the activities that support Austin’s urban forest and community of stewards. The Report features investment visualizations, an interactive map of projects, and the raw data for your own analysis project.  

Urban Forest Benefits: Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (UFIA) completed an assessment in Austin in 2016. Austin’s urban forest monitoring program and produces estimates of the quantity, health, composition, and benefits of urban trees and forests. 

City of Austin Strategic Direction 2023 (SD23) Alignment: Tree Planting Prioritization Map supports the SD23 Government that works for all (GTW.10).  

Do you have an idea to benefit Austin's urban forest in high priority areas? We encourage you to explore and apply for the Urban Forest Grant, which can help fund your tree-related ideas.

 

Nature in the City – Austin