From the Edmonds Tree Board: A tree canopy — not just a pretty sight

We pretty much all love and enjoy our trees. They may be in a mountain forest, a coastal rain forest or just the trees in our yards and neighborhoods. We enjoy their beauty, shade and the marking of the changing seasons.

Our trees make up a canopy, the upper layer or habitat zone formed by mature tree tops. It may refer to the outer leaves of one tree or a small group of trees as well.. Today the tree canopy is being depleted at an alarming rate. The loss of tree canopies worldwide has been cited as a possible cause of pollution and atmospheric warming.

The tree canopy is a major component used to keep our environment healthy for the flora and fauna that live in its surrounds. As thoughtful concerned citizens, we should do everything possible to protect and enhance the tree canopy.

I’ll write more about how the tree canopy works for us and how each of us can help protect and enhance the tree canopy.

— By Doug Petersen

Doug Petersen is a Master Gardener and City of Edmonds Tree Board member.





  1. It’s a good idea to write and encourage people about the beauty of trees, but I suggest that large cedar trees and others that grow more than 30 feet are a bad idea to plant. Also the Tree Board should not think about bringing in regulations to “make” the citizens grow or not cut down trees that are overgrown and create problems on their property.

  2. @Jenny, the Tree Board is not responsible for “bringing in regulations to make citizens grow or not cut down trees…” and the past snafu regarding the Tree Code was a lesson learned. Council is the ultimate decision maker of regulations and if anyone is to blame for the Tree Code lack of guidance during the process of two years ago, it should be the Council.

    Thank you Doug for providing a snapshot for why a tree canopy is important.

  3. We are so very lucky in the Northwest to have an abundance of trees that thrive. And many are in the 15- 30 foot size range.

  4. I am concerned about the health of our environment for our children & grandchildren. The tree canopy is so important for our environment reducing carbon in the air we breath. Every time we cut down a tree it adds carbon to the air we breath. Living trees reduce the carbon in the air.
    The communities around us have tree ordinances. Lets talk to them & see how it is working for them.
    I would like to see our tree canopy increase to greater than 30%. When I drive down 220 there is one multi unit complex being built that has left trees on the edge of the property. Another one has totally stripped the lot of trees, increasing the carbon in our air.
    Remember mature trees take years to grow. To totally replace them would take years. Lets talk about alternatives to how we can increase our tree canopy and reduce the carbon in our atmosphere.

  5. I’m kind of on the fence when it comes to tree removal.

    On the one hand. I live in Firdale. When we moved here in 95 there were many large first trees on every street. At least half have been removed. Whether it was due to dangerous conditions (falling branches and such), lot improvements or people just tired of the mess they make. I miss the cool canopy they provided in the summer. The amount of noise they absorbed and the lower wind speeds thru the neighborhood.

    On the other hand, I get it. We just had to have an arborist right up a tree on our neighbor’s property. It was a triple trunk fir, the largest trunk was right on the fence separating our properties. It was starting to lean dangerously toward our house and the owners wouldn’t do anything about it. The arborist’s report stated this 110 foot, 30″ thick tree was likely to come down in the next few years and couldn’t withstand more than 45 mph winds. The report was given to the managers of the property who took their time (5 windstorm full months) to get it taken care of. It was taken down last Monday.

    I will miss that tree. We lost privacy from the apartments behind us. The shade I’m sure we will miss come summer and the road noise from Edmonds way has increased. I won’t miss the sleepless nights wondering if this windstorm is the one that brings it down.

    I hate the idea of taking out all of the large trees around here. But, large fir trees sticking well above the canopy are a hazard. Please think about replacing them when you do have to take them out.

    Some time ago we had to remove a row of ceders along the fence. They were planted to close together and contracted some kind of disease that was going around. We have replanted with many different evergreens hoping they won’t contract it. We won’t get to see the full benefits of this as it will be decades for them to really start putting out some shade. I hope whoever is living here then appreciates them.

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