This year, some 56 Oregon cities, including Seaside, are being recognized as Tree City USA communities. Oregon’s Arbor Week, as designated by the Oregon Legislature, is the first full week of April.

Tree City USA is a program of the National Arbor Day Foundation sponsored by the Oregon Department of Forestry. It recognizes cities that develop programs to plant and care for trees.

“Trees are important to the quality of life here in Oregon, where we have some of the most productive forestland in the world and some of the most livable cities around,” says Paul Ries, who manages the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

Trees and forests enhance quality of life by providing fish and wildlife habitat, shade, wood products, clean, healthy streams and by raising property values, adds Ries.

The four standards of becoming a Tree City USA are:

• Having a tree board or department.

• Having a tree ordinance.

• Spending $2 per capita on their tree program.

• Hosting a proclamation and celebration for Arbor Day.

ODF recommends mulching trees, as it helps prevent soil temperature and moisture fluctuations during summer months, softens rain penetration during winter and discourages weeds. Add a depth of 4 to 6 inches of mulch around the base of the tree, leaving 3-4 inches around the base of your tree mulch-free. Fertilizing at the time of planting is not necessary, but the tree should be deeply watered after planting. Also, newly-planted trees should always receive regular watering for 3 years following planting.

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