Report: Lexington's trees cover 25 percent of the city's core

A reporter writes about the findings from The Davey Resource Group's urban tree canopy survey.

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014

By Beth Musgrave

Stock 20117%20(3)_jpgIt's official: Lexington is a shady town.

But not as shady as it could be.

A report released last week shows that trees cover roughly 25 percent of the city's core — just shy of the national average.

But if Lexington wants cleaner air and water, higher property values and a more livable city, it needs more trees over the next 20 years, according to a recent report from Davey Resource Group.

Lexington's tree canopy provides $30.7 million in benefits annually — from carbon capture to improving stormwater runoff to generating savings on homeowners' air-conditioning bills.

"They provide all of these benefits all the time," said Jenny Gulick, an urban forestry consultant for Davey. "A stop sign gives you a public service benefit, but that's all it gives you. The urban forest will give you this benefit, every year, over and over, and more as it grows."

Gulick presented the Davey Resource Group report last Tuesday to the Urban County Council's Environmental Quality Committee. Lexington is the first city in Kentucky to conduct an urban tree canopy survey, Gulick said. It cost roughly $42,000.

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