With rain in Seattle’s forecast, it’s finally starting to feel like fall, making it an optimal time to plant trees, remove weeds and preserve forestry.
Between Sunday and Oct. 29, the city will observe its second annual Seattle Forest Week, a “celebration of Seattle’s urban forest,” according to an announcement from Seattle Parks and Recreation. Festivities will kick off with Arbor Day events Sunday at noon at Be’er Sheva Park in Rainier Beach and conclude with Green Seattle Day, where volunteers will help care for trees and build healthy forests at 16 parks across the city.
Seattle has 4.35 million trees, with 192 species — 28 of which are native to the Puget Sound region, a 2013 report from American Forests said. The most common tree species are red alder, big leaf maple and beaked hazelnut.
Research shared in an August 2022 presentation from Seattle’s Office of Sustainability & Environment found Seattle’s urban forest faces increasing challenges made worse by the effects of climate change, such as hotter, drier summers; aging trees more vulnerable to drought conditions; new pests; budget cuts and rising maintenance costs; and competing uses for land.
Between 2016 and 2021, Seattle’s tree canopy size decreased by 1.7% or 255 acres, about the size of Green Lake, while the population grew by 8.5%. Planting new trees, particularly in communities with a small amount of shading, was listed as one potential approach to combat the decreasing forestry.
Residents can attend several free events during the weeklong celebration to learn more about Seattle’s urban forest, including walks alongside native plants and tours of green spaces. Events are open to people of all ages and abilities. For more information on Seattle Forest Week Events, visit seattleforestweek.org.