Urban Forestry

Trees Need People and People Need Trees

Habitat for Humanity Arbor Day tree planting

Lowell High students plant trees with Habitat for Humanity

Lowell’s urban forestry canopy extends from the downtown to the city’s neighborhoods and out to the state forest.

Trees on your street contribute to your quality of life by improving the streetscape, the quality of the air you breathe, reducing heating and cooling costs, calming traffic speeds, and increasing property values.

Every year the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust plants 150-200 large-caliper (2-3″) trees throughout the city with a variety partners, including city agencies, local non-profits, neighborhoods, and businesses.

Where would you like to see more trees?

If you have an idea for a tree planting project in your neighborhood, at a local school, or at your favorite park, please contact us.

We prioritize projects that provide broad public benefit over individual tree plantings on sidewalks. The demand for our assistance is too high to typically meet individual homeowner tree requests, but we do keep a running list of sites in case we get several requests on one street.

2016 Tree Planting Sites

Fall Foliage, Lowell

Fall Foliage, Jollene Dubner Park

Each year, the Trust applies competitively for support for tree planting through the City of Lowell’s federally-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.  Our tree planting projects in 2016 included:

  • D’Youville Life & Wellness Community

  • Fay Street Brownfield

  • Mulligan Park

  • Lincoln Street Parkway

  • Renaissance Park

  • Downtown (replacement trees)

  • Gage Field

  • Cawley Stadium

  • Doane Park

  • Cupples Square

  • UMass Lowell campus (Arbor Day 2016)

  • Jackson Street

  • St. Anne’s Episcopal Church

  • Middlesex Street

  • Clark Road

  • MVHP First-time Homebuyers

  • Shedd Park

Urban Forestry Resources

To learn more about urban forestry, check out Tales from Urban Forests, a radio series on how trees are impacting cities. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation‘s Urban Forestry Program also puts out a monthly forestry newsletter, including information about native trees, upcoming forestry events and workshops, and more.

Program History

The Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust initiated an Urban Forestry Program in 1995 to meet the demands of the city’s neighborhoods for tree planting and beautification.

In 1996, the Trust initiated a program to plant 2000 trees by the year 2000 (“2000 for 2000″) and conducted a city-wide survey of the city’s public shade trees. For this survey, one out of every five city trees was observed for species, size, and condition.

This groundbreaking study revealed that the city’s trees lacked diversity, were in decline, and needed improved maintenance.

This is a common story throughout Massachusetts. In addition to the city’s 13,300 publicly owned shade trees, there were found to be 2,400 vacant sites for future tree planting, indicating plenty of need for the new 2000 for 2000 initiative.

Finally, the value of the city’s urban forest was determined to be $32 million (1996). This represents an investment by the city that needs to be maintained.

In 1997, Lowell received its first designation as a Tree City USA. By the year 2000, the Trust had exceeded its goal of 2,000 newly planted trees, by planting or providing support for the planting of over 4,000 trees.

Since 2000, our efforts have focused on continuing to plant trees with diverse partners, providing technical assistance on tree projects throughout the city, and developing new policies related to the urban forest, such as the city’s new tree ordinance (passed July 9, 2002).

Urban Forestry News