Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF), a nonprofit dedicated to helping San Franciscans care for sidewalk vegetation, is planting trees in the Mission to give residents a chance for subsidized foliage outside their buildings:
Mission residents have until October 1 to sign up to receive a street tree in the planting that Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) is organizing forNovember 8. Residents who have eligible sites in front of their homes and businesses can save approximately 75% of the total tree planting costs by participating in FUF’s neighborhood tree planting program; most of the costs are covered by grants, government funding and private donations.FUF is a non-profit organization that helps individuals and neighborhood groups plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens throughout San Francisco. FUF plants trees in neighborhoods in which at least 30 trees have been requested. The copayment for a “Tree Package” is $135, and includes the tree, permit processing, site preparation including concrete removal, and three post-planting tree care visits. FUF’s certified arborists make recommendations regarding the tree species that are most suitable for the conditions at each planting site, and the property owner makes the final selection.
Interested parties have to fill out two short forms by October 1, wait a month and then come out on November 8 to do some digging. “Planting teams” will go around the neighborhood starting at 9 a.m. and will work until noon, when there will be a potluck for all involved. FUF stresses that no experience is necessary, and that they will supply the “tools and guidance” needed to become a bonafide arborist — so long as you bring the water and work clothes.
The enterprise is badly needed: San Francisco has only 13.7 percent of its land area covered by trees, compared to a 33 percent national average for metropolitan areas; the city ranks 17th among the 20 most populous American cities.
This situation could change, however, as the city unveiled its Urban Forest Plan earlier this year. The plan calls for changing that 13.7 percent into 25 percent over the next 20 years by planting an additional 50,000 trees, raising the total in the city from 105,000 to 155,000. It also requires stabilization of the existing canopy to prevent tree death and removal, which currently accounts for a significant portion of planting efforts by FUF and the Department of Public Works.
With the plethora of benefits that accompany urban greening — rising property values, cleaner air and reduction of flooding and water pollution, among others — it’s no surprise that the city and FUF are passionate about making San Francisco a little leafier. FUF alone has planted more than 48,000 trees since 1981, amounting to 43 percent of San Francisco’s street tree canopy.
The eligible zone for FUF’s project extends from the Central Freeway to Cesar Chavez Street, and from Dolores Street to San Bruno Avenue. So if you live in that area and have a sidewalk in need of some green, be sure to sign up by October 1 for some new foliage outside your building.