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ARC Lacks Parks

Why Lock Out Our Trees?

The draft Davis Downtown Specific Plan needs to address trees.

Cork oak
Giant cork oak downtown

The mature tree canopy in downtown Davis is an invaluable historic, environmental, and economic asset. It is a legacy we are fortunate to inherit and its future rests in our hands. Ideally, because of our informed stewardship the next generation will inherit a healthier and more extensive tree canopy resource.

The draft Davis Downtown Specific Plan (DDSP) allocates 25 pages of guidance to the design and placement of signage, but nothing to canopy conservation and the integration of new trees into downtown development. We do not believe that this omission reflects the level of value that our city officials, business leaders, and residents place on trees in our commercial area.

Tree Davis has submitted written comments that include these recommendations to bolster the inclusion of trees in the DDSP.

  • Include our existing Tree Ordinance and related documents as baseline standards for tree planting, preservation and protection.

  • Include existing lists of Landmark and Great Trees in the chapter on Existing Conditions. How can we ignore the presence and value of magnificent individual trees in the planning and development process?

  • Include mapping of the existing tree canopy and a calculation of its aerial coverage. These data are readily available at no cost to the city. They provide an important baseline from which to detect future changes in canopy extent and health.

  • Include urban trees in a section on Low Impact Development/Green Infrastructure Improvements. Trees intercept rainfall and reduce runoff, and provide a more pleasurable environment for pedestrians downtown.

  • Include specifications on providing adequate growing space for trees in densely developed areas. Healthy trees will not prosper without ample space for roots to grow. Structural soils, silva cells, and other technologies can be used to create rooting space for trees without sacrificing space for sidewalks, plazas, patios and other largely impervious surfaces.
TreeDavis_ancestorceremony110417 (111 of 118)
Tree planting event

Protecting healthy trees during development and integrating new trees into downtown development is complex and requires use of the best science and materials at our disposal. By investing NOW in our trees, we will be providing future generations with a legacy that we will be proud to have passed on.

Tree Davis Executive Director and Board

Erin Donely Marineau (E.D.)
David B. Robinson
Don Shor
Patrick Van Horne
Diane Crumley
Emily Griswold
Olga Levitsky
Richard Dye II
Larry Guenther
Greg McPherson


Pam Gunnell

Excellent comments by Tree Davis.

Donna Lemongello

Well let's hope they heed these recommendations. No trees should be sacrificed for convenience of implementing other aspects of the plan. Trees are indeed invaluable and should take priority in deciding where to put other elements and structures.

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