A forester takes down information about a park tree
Trees buffer the Bluff Creek exercise trail from the main trail
Colorful fall trees grace the Will Rogers Gardens
A common grey squirrel munches on leaves from an oak tree

In 2016, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation contracted with Davey Tree Service to evaluate the health of park trees within the Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department. During a four-month time span, more than 19,000 trees were surveyed in 134 city parks. The result is an expansive inventory of each individual tree that will help park forestry crews prevent disease and ensure the viability of the city's urban tree canopy.

The total cost for the project was $120,800. Funding game through a $95,000 gift from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and a $25,800 gift from the Oklahoma Department of Forest Services.  

What is a tree inventory?

A tree inventory is a simple way to determine the health and quality of trees within a specific geographic area. During the 2016 Oklahoma City Parks Tree Inventory, professional foresters examined evaluated 19,632 trees and provided an online data set for each tree. The data sets include information about each tree's location, size, age, species, general health, canopy size, plus any noticeable damage or disease. It will also note if a tree has experienced storm damage or is susceptible to disease.

The information collected was put into a database to be used by parks forestry crews to create tree care plans including preventative pruning, irrigation or nutrient intervention. Crews can also determine which trees are near the end of their natural life, and determine a plan to replace those trees.

 

Why are tree inventories important?

Tree inventories help parks departments and other agencies evaluate the health of trees under their care and develop plans for tree maintenance and replacement. They also help identify trends such as species die-off or the onset of tree disease, which can be included in preventative maintenance plans. Inventories also allow staff to create plans for species diversification in parks. Species diversification can promote shade and carbon dioxide improvement, and help attract wildlife, which benefits the ecosystem of urban parks.

Most importantly, tree inventories can evaluate the economic benefit of trees by demonstrating how each tree contributes to property value, air quality, storm water quality and other environmental factors.

Read the full Parks & Recreation Tree Inventory Report.