Shade Tree Committee
Why do we need trees? Trees provide environmental, economic, aesthetic and other benefits. They cool the air in the summer, removing carbon dioxide from the air and returning oxygen to it. They shed their leaves for the winter and allow sunlight to reach our homes. They take up excess water through their roots and help to keep sanitary sewers from being overloaded. They provide both food and homes for small wildlife. Last, but far from least, they soften the urban landscape, making our neighborhoods more beautiful and raising property values.
History. In 1992, Wilkinsburg’s Borough Council formed the Citizens Advisory Committee on Shade Trees provide advice on how to look after the community’s urban forest. Council appointed a seven-member committee to provide recommendations on shade tree issues, recognizing that trees need to be managed and cared for, just like any other public resource, such as streets, water and sidewalks.
The basics. The Shade Tree Committee meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Borough Building, 605 Ross Avenue. Specific dates and especially the date of the Nov.-Dec. meeting will appear in the Community Calendar on the Borough website. These are public meetings and residents are always welcome to attend and get involved in Committee projects.
What we do. The Committee, working with advice from its consulting arborist, responds to resident concerns about specific trees and annually contracts for work on public trees, such as tree-pruning, removal of dead or dying trees, and treatment of tree diseases. The Committee also partners with the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association to plan for new plantings, such as the recently completed Rooted in Wilkinsburg: the 500-Tree Initiative, in which 500 new trees were planted in the Borough over a three-year period. One of the Committee’s ongoing concerns is to preserve and protect mature trees and resolve tree-sidewalk conflicts without giving up either valuable trees or safe sidewalks.
Want a tree? You’ll find a Tree Request Form on the Nine Mile Run website here. Complete and submit the form and you’ll be contacted about whether you have a suitable site for a street tree.
Get involved! You don’t have to be a member of the Committee to help out, but interested residents are encouraged to fill out the Borough’s Talent Bank Application. When vacancies on the Committee open up, we’d like to know who is interested in filling them. If you want to learn how to care for trees, become a Tree Tender! You’ll find out how here. If you’d like general information about urban trees, see the websites of the International Society for Arboriculture and the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Still have questions? You’ll find Frequently Asked Questions about trees here. If you don’t find an answer to your question there, come to a meeting and we’ll try to help. Or send a Service Area Request – you’ll find the button on the home page of the Borough’s website.