"The best time to plant a tree is 50 years ago.

The second best time to plant a tree is now."

A concerted effort to rebuild Maumee’s tree canopy is well underway.

Since 1990, the city’s tree canopy has fallen over 30%, which reduced the overall canopy from 31% to 21%. The emerald ash borer decimated the city’s urban forest and the removal of dead or diseased trees has outpaced plantings up until just a few years ago.

With guidance from the Maumee Environmental and Tree Advisory Commission, the goal over the next ten years is to recoup those losses and get the tree canopy back to 30% or more.

But why plant so many trees, what are the benefits?

Do you own your home and benefit from it being worth more?

Trees increase property values.

Do you like driving around on smooth streets?

Trees protect street infrastructure by preventing them from boiling in the summer sun which makes it not degrade so quickly.

Do you prefer not to have traffic speed down your residential street?

Trees create vertical elements that make drivers not feel as safe driving fast and slows them down.

Do you prefer quiet especially when resting?

Trees suppress sound.

Do you use your air conditioner when it gets too hot or look for shade in the summer to get out of the sun when outside too long?

Trees decrease heat islands, cool your home, and allow for better cooling of space and buildings. Also, because the tree is shading your home, it makes for lower energy bills because your AC doesn’t have to work so hard.

Do you prefer a safe neighborhood?

Trees are known to deter crime and prevent violence.

Do you or anyone you know suffer from mental health problems or need reasons to smile more?

Trees make people happier and support better mental health.

Do you prefer to be healthy and not suffer from respiratory issues, especially from pollution?

Trees clean our air.

Do you prefer a dry basement, no standing water in your yard, and not having the sewer systems overrun in large rain events?

Trees better absorb rainwater quickly, and trees prevent erosion.

Do you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife around your neighborhood?

Trees support important wildlife by providing shelter, a place to raise their young, and a place to find food.

Trees Planted In the Public Right-Of-Way

Street speed, overhead utility wires, soil makeup, and size of the area designated for planting are just a few of the many elements considered when trees are planted in the city right of way. In addition, a master planting design is underway in Maumee to help guide the city’s tree-planting program. A wide variety of species and genotypes, which are also being planted, helps to ensure that if there is a pest or fungus that knocks out a type of tree, the entire tree canopy is not decimated.

What If Tree Roots Damage Or Interfere With the Sewer?

Trees DO NOT damage sewer lines!

A tree root will get into sewer lines because the sewer line is old and leaking and needs to be replaced or repaired. Homes built before 1980 will most likely have clay sewer pipes, which become brittle over time and have low tensile strength, meaning they snap easily under extreme pressure and are more affected by ground shifts than other pipe materials.  Clay pipes can corrode from waste material build-up leading to restricted water flow and leaks.

No matter how well you care for your sewer lines, a time will come when the piping will need to be repaired or replaced regardless if a tree is planted.

PVC piping, however, which became more prominent after 1980  typically lasts approximately 100 years.

Who Is Responsible For Caring For The Trees?

The City of Maumee is responsible for pruning, trimming, mulching, watering, and removing trees.

But I Don’t Want A Tree!

A resident may decide whether or not to plant trees on their property. However, in the city right of way, which is city-owned property, a property owner does not have that decision-making oversight.

Just like a sewer system, water system, curbs, street lights, and streets, city trees are a public good. Property owners located within the municipal city limits of Maumee may not opt out of having a public good in and around their property, which means that it is not possible to opt out of having a tree planted in the right-of-way, even if it is adjacent or in front of your property.

Intentional Tree Damage Is Against The Law

Treating public spaces with care and consideration for the well-being of the community is imperative. Respecting public property, specifically trees planted in the city right-of-way, is also a legal requirement. As such, vandalism against city property including city trees not only damages community resources but can also have legal consequences, potentially resulting in a felony charge.

Deliberately killing a public tree is a violation of Ohio law which could result in a misdemeanor for criminal damage.  If the loss is over $1000, those charges could rise to a felony level. 

Click here for Ohio Revised Code Section 2909.05 Vandalism and 2909.06 Criminal damaging or endangering.

Trees help to manage runoff by reducing erosion and soaking up water, which also saves money by reducing the amount of rain that enters the storm sewer system. As you can see, the savings can add up.

(Images courtesy of Urban3)

Maumee’s Future

Investing in urban forestry and conscientious tree placement enhances the quality of life for residents and contributes to a more sustainable and resilient community. Increasing the tree canopy is vital to preserving the longevity of our city and the benefits of a healthy tree canopy far outweigh a community without trees.