In the city of gardens, flowers get a lot of the attention but trees are even more important — they’re the lungs of the planet.

“Trees are important and we want people to come out and learn a little more about trees or have their questions answered and either go out and plant or re-plant a tree because our urban forest is important,” explains City of Victoria councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe.

The first Sunday of November is Tree Appreciation Day and the City of Victoria is marking it with an event focusing on education.
It included tree banding demos, teaching people about the dangers of winter moths — an invasive insect that can cause serious harm to Garry Oaks and fruit trees.
“For mature trees, they certainly can almost defoliate them,” says City of Victoria arborist Rob Hughes. “The trees lose a lot of leaf surface and the tree can decline in health. Smaller trees though can be totally defoliated and maybe not recover at all.”

There are approximately 150,000 trees in the city of Victoria alone, including many that are hundreds of years old.

“To realize these have been here long before all of us and this is the home of the Lekwungen-speaking people and if they could talk, the stories they could tell,” Thornton-Joe says.

The City of Victoria’s pledged to plant 5,000 trees in 2020 to help grow the urban forest.

Five-hundred will be on public property and homeowners and developers are encouraged to plant the rest.

“It’s a huge thing to cities, not just for health for people but also it should be looked at as green infrastructure,” Hughes  says.

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