New Yorkers have a way to improve local air quality, cool the city, and make the city more beautiful for all of us. They can join their neighbors in planting new trees, and caring for the ones here now!

The arrival of spring means that thousands of new trees will be planted on city streets, in public parks, and on private property.

MillionTreesNYC, which is managed by the city and the New York Restoration Project, is well on its way to planting a million trees by 2015, two-years ahead of schedule. The NYRP says that over 800,000 trees have already been planted in the five boroughs.

A public-private partnership, Million Trees NYC is part of PlaNYC, the long-term sustainability “blueprint” created by the Bloomberg administration.

Getting Involved

New Yorkers can get involved in many ways. Anyone who owns property -a home, business, non-profit, etc.- can obtain free trees from the New York Restoration Project, along with tips on how to care for them.

Property owners must plant the new trees on their property, not along city streets or in parks.

If you don’t own property, there are tens of thousands of trees that need love and attention. You can adopt a tree!

A Greener City

The NYRP reports that the city’s Department of Buildings has adopted two zoning requirements which “further MillionTreesNYC tree-planting goals”.

Every new surface parking lot constructed within the five boroughs must be planted with trees in order to “reduce the heat emitted from large asphalt and other types of surfacing”.

And any developer or builder of a new building must plant new street trees every 25 feet around the structure’s street frontage.

Cooling Us Down

In addition to absorbing CO2 emissions and other pollutants, and stormwater, trees literally make the city more liveable.

How much do trees help? Think about New York City’s blistering summers.

The federal EPA says that trees and vegetation “lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade and through evapotranspiration. Shaded surfaces, for example, may be 20–45°F cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded materials.”