Phoenix gets $10 million to plant more shade trees

PHOENIX — Phoenix is ​​getting more shade to beat the heat with a $10 million federal grant for the city’s tree planting programs.

Residents will enjoy more shade trees, cooler community spaces, and — if all goes as planned — reductions in their energy bills. Mayor Kate Gallego said the money will be used to support existing Community Canopy and Canopy for Kids grant programs.

Related: Feds distribute $1 billion to plant trees among US cities to reduce extreme heat and benefit health

“The $10 million the city is receiving will help us with our Canopy for Kids program, which can plant trees in public schools,” she explained. “You can get a break in a cooler, more comfortable environment.”

“We also have a Community Canopy program, which allows nonprofits, neighborhood associations and others to plant trees. We hope this will cool our city and create beautiful shaded walkways.”

Gorgeous corridors are trails and roads with abundant tree cover, one of the tools Phoenix uses to split our urban heat island, protecting residents from steadily rising global temperatures.

RELATED: Urban Saguaro Drops Dead in Extreme Heat: Here’s How to Save One on Your Property

The city has found that most tree cover is currently clustered in wealthier areas, and Mayor Gallego said she wants to change that.

“We have pledged with American Forestry to address tree equity. We are the first city in the country to do so!” She said. “We’re really trying to track the data and make sure everyone in our city has access to the amazing benefits of shade trees.”

Both grant programs will plant native, drought-resistant trees such as mesquite, Chinese pistachio, or desert acacia. Likewise, they will avoid water-hungry trees such as palms.

The money comes from a $1.13 billion investment announced by US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday morning. As part of the inflation control law, similar investments are expected to go ahead.

“We’re very excited about the potential for a good boom in shade trees. I’m really looking forward to it, personally. I know this will contribute a lot to just being able to be outside and enjoy the outdoors.”

If you are interested in applying to plant shade trees, you can visit the city’s Office of Heat Response and Mitigation website for more information.

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