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Let’s re-tree Phinneywood!

By Josh Kahan. Photos are of 50th St. and 1st Ave looking North (on left) and East (on right)

Phinney Ridge and Greenwood are great neighborhoods. But they could be enhanced significantly by planting more trees. Lots of them. 

Hundreds of trees could easily be planted in Phinnywood street planting strips or yards. Adding trees would make our already lovely neighborhood even more enjoyable. While trees provide shade and beauty, they also sequester carbon, provide wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and slow traffic. Fall is the best time to plant trees in the Pacific Northwest. 

Free trees are periodically available at: seattle.gov/trees/planting-and-care/trees-for-neighborhoods. Trees are also for sale at Fred Meyer, and Swansons, and Sky nurseries. Swansons and Sky also sell native trees and shrubs which are particularly beneficial to birds indigenous to the Seattle area. 

The City of Seattle encourages residents to plant street trees but requires a free permit from the Dept. of Transportation (SDOT) Arborist Office. Their website also provides planting advice: “Planting a tree in a planting strip requires considering underground/overhead utilities, tree species, and planting strip width…to avoid future conflicts with utility lines and minimize traffic impacts. An SDOT arborist will review your tree selection and site and provide recommendations.” SDOT guidelines state: 

  • Sites with overhead power lines need trees that grow to less than 25’ at maturity
  • Planting strip width needs to be at least four-feet wide
  • SDOT can be contacted at: seattle.gov/trees/planting-and-care/street-trees, (206) 684-TREE, or [email protected] 
  • Locate underground utilities by calling 811 or submitting an online dig ticket https//usanorth811.org prior to the SDOT arborist inspection; this is free. 

Adding mulch to our sandy soils would help retain water during dry summers. Drip irrigation bags are almost essential now. While there are costs associated with planting trees, it’s an investment in our neighborhood and properties, and this investment increases in value over time as trees mature. 

C’mon Phinneywood! Let’s re-tree our community!