Arbor Day, a celebration of trees, is commemorated on the last Friday of April each year. Trees play an integral part in creating a cleaner, greener and healthier future. In fact, SDG&E has built an award-winning vegetation management program, earning the Arbor Day Foundation’s distinction as a Tree Line USA® Utility for the last 19 years. A team of SDG&E employees who are trained arborists take great care in trimming trees in SDG&E’s service community to help reduce the risk of tree-related power outages, fire and other impacts to the energy grid. They also leverage their experience and relationships to expand our region's urban canopy, which supports many local cities’ climate action plan goals.
SDG&E’s commitment to proper tree-care practice benefits our customers in numerous ways, including providing cleaner air and water, increasing property values and improving quality of life. Trees also conserve energy and reduce peak demand, a crucial benefit to customers and providers alike.
In celebration of this year’s Arbor Day, SDG&E will mobilize employees to support a variety of tree planting projects. Here’s a snapshot of some of the partnerships that we are enabling throughout our region. All of these efforts align with the aspirational goal set out in SDG&E’s Sustainability Strategy, as we aspire to support the planting of 10,000 trees annually.
Moreton Bay Fig Viewing Platform Dedication
SDG&E supported Friends of Balboa Park in their efforts to install a new deck and viewing platform around one of San Diego’s most iconic and beloved trees, the Moreton Bay Fig in Balboa Park. The tree was planted more than 100 years ago, and many San Diego locals have fond memories of sitting in its shade or climbing on its branches. Unfortunately, all that activity damaged the tree, and the tree has been fenced off from the public since 1989. Thanks to Friends of Balboa Park, the City of San Diego Parks & Recreation and many donors, including SDG&E, on Arbor Day this year, they will cut the ribbon on a new deck and viewing platform that will allow park visitors to get up close and personal to the tree, without damaging the tree's roots or branches.
Tree Planting in the City of Chula Vista
The City of Chula Vista and SDG&E have been long-time collaborators on tree planting efforts in Chula Vista. Last fall during a belated Arbor Day celebration, the two entities teamed up to do a major planting along Orange Avenue as well as in Sunridge Park. This year, in celebration of Arbor Day, SDG&E and contract crews from Urban Corps of San Diego will help the City to plant 121 trees in a local park, open space and street medians. Through this partnership, the City of Chula Vista is able to maintain its Tree City USA designation and SDG&E is able to help get trees in the ground.
Tree Giveaway in Encinitas
SDG&E has teamed up with the City of Encinitas and their Urban Forest Advisory Committee to offer trees to City residents on Arbor Day. This drive-thru tree giveaway will allow the first 100 applicants to receive a free tree, as well as learn more about the City’s status as a Tree City USA. In addition, the City of Encinitas has launched an interactive tool to see where some of Encinitas’ coolest trees are located.
Expanding the Tree Canopy in Downtown San Diego
More than a year ago, the Downtown San Diego Partnership launched their Grow Urban initiative to increase the number of street trees in the downtown core, by replacing missing trees and leaning into proactive watering and other maintenance activities on existing trees. SDG&E was one of the first funders of this effort, and our charitable support will enable the Downtown Partnership to continue planting, as well as maintaining more than 100 trees.
Mobilizing in Mission Valley
Our commitment to tree planting extends beyond the workweek. Employee volunteers participate in SDG&E’s signature volunteer program, Environmental All-Stars, to protect and restore our local environment. In partnership with San Diego River Park Foundation, Team SDG&E volunteers will spend their Saturday morning planting trees and native shrubs in a riparian area in Mission Valley, adjacent to the land that will soon become the San Diego River Center. By donating plants and mobilizing employee volunteers, SDG&E is able to help the SD River Park Foundation defray costs that can be used elsewhere to bring their River Center vision to life.
More about Tree Line USA and the Benefits of Trees
Tree Line USA is a national program recognizing public and private utilities for practices that protect and enhance America's urban forests. A collaboration of the Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, Tree Line USA promotes the dual goals of delivering safe and reliable electricity while maintaining healthy community trees.
If ever there was a time for trees, now is that time. Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, and energy use.
Some of the benefits of trees include:
- The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
- If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%.
- A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000.
- Having large trees in yards along streets increases a home’s value from 3% to 15%.
- Landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values as much as 20%.
- One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.
Our company is always striving to innovate our pruning and overall environmental efforts. To learn more about our vegetation management program, please see visit here.
Happy Arbor Day!