Photos courtesy of SDOT
A big selection of new trees will be planted along major West Seattle streets in November. They include, from left to right and top to bottom: Parrotia, City Sprite Zelkova, Eddies White Wonder Dogwood,Fragrant Snowbell, Red Rage Tupelo and Magyar Ginkgo.

100 new trees coming to West Seattle

Information from SDOT

Thanks to the Bridging the Gap voter–approved transportation initiative, 100 new trees will soon take root in West Seattle. Next Tuesday, November 12, SDOT’s Urban Forestry division will begin planting on Fauntleroy Avenue SW from SW Trenton to SW Holly Street, and on California Avenue SW from SW Orchard to SW Graham streets.

The number of trees to be planted per day will vary because the tree sizes vary by species. The crews will be made up of three to four people and will plant all 100 trees by the end of the year, hopefully by Thanksgiving.

The large trees (Red Rage Tupelo and Magyar Ginkgo) will be planted where there are no primary distribution power lines overhead. The small trees (White Wonder Dogwood, City Sprite Zelkova, Fragrant Snowbell and Parrotia) will be planted where there are overhead primary distribution lines. Most of the small trees will be planted on Fauntleroy, while the majority of the large trees will be on California.

No quick decision, the planning process actually started roughly two years ago. A volunteer asked Urban Forestry to plant street trees in the neighborhood. One call led to another and another. And now it’s happening! The streets selected to receive trees were based on available planting space – prioritizing arterial streets, but also choosing residential streets as space allowed.

For both Fauntleroy and California Avenue SW, volunteers posted flyers last year and earlier this summer with general information about the trees to be planted. Two weeks ago, the department posted door hangers with the specific information about tree selections and number of trees to be planted which, allowed homeowners to request a specific species, if they had a preference. Since the trees had to be ordered earlier this year, before the department knew exactly where they would go, the quantities had to be ordered in advance of the determined planting order. Homeowners who requested a specific tree species will be given first preference until available quantites are exhausted. SDOT will plant a mix of species for addresses where no specific species requests were received.

The Urban Forestry staff chose trees that perform well in the urban environment; have good structure and are reasonably resistant to most insects and disease. With those criteria, we talk to to commercial nurseries to see what species are available in the amount needed and that meet our quality standards. These specific trees were grown in northwest nurseries.

No conifers are included in the street tree inventory because there are so few planting strips that are big enough to accommodate such large trees. Also, in general, the conifers tend to come from the nurseries with branches nearly all the way to the ground simply because that is their normal growth habit. Because potential visibility issues must be considered, SDOT requires a minimum of 4’ of clear trunk on our trees before the first/lowest branch.

Naturally, we hope all the trees will live long lives. SDOT will water the trees for two to three years and will schedule periodic pruning throughout their lives. With proper care, urban trees can live for decades, providing environmental and aesthetic benefits in our neighborhoods for generations.

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