ACCD's Trees Are Five Years Old

Trees are powerful. These silent giants are nature’s built-in air purifiers, water filters and flood controls.  

Planting a single tree has a lasting impact. Planting entire forests can transform the region.  

ACCD began planting trees more than five years ago to restore vital streambanks across Allegheny County. The plan: Establish streamside forests across 11 municipalities to stabilize streambanks, restore habitats, reduce floods and make communities better and healthier.  

Today, ACCD has planted over 3,500 trees on 20 acres of streamside property.   

Now, some of those sites are five years old and starting to look more like woodlands than the mowed areas and fields they started as. Funded in part by the DCNR Riparian Forest Buffer Program, this initiative has provided numerous social, economic and environmental benefits to county and municipal parks.  

ACCD planted trees at Valley Park in Monroeville to improve Turtle Creek Watershed in 2017. 

The First Five Years 

The first five years are critical for the long-term health of a tree, requiring proper watering, pruning and other tree care. Trees that survive beyond the five-year milestone are better established and more likely to become healthy, mature trees, drastically reducing future maintenance costs.  

As trees grow, so do their benefits:  

  • Stabilizing streambanks and controlling erosion 
  • Slowing and absorbing stormwater runoff  
  • Reducing the intensity of floods  
  • Recharging groundwater   
  • Conserving energy  
  • Shading and cooling streams for optimal habitat to improve fishing and recreation 
  • Providing food and habitat for wildlife and aquatic life  
  • Increasing aesthetic value of a property  
  • Storing carbon to combat climate change  
  • Adding to regional food production and security
Learn more about the benefits of trees and other green infrastructure.

ACCD planted 800 trees at Hartwood Acres Park along Blue Run in partnership with Allegheny County Parks Department for a combined 3.75 acres of riparian forest established in Deer Creek Watersehd. 

Make an Impact 

Planting trees on your property is one of the biggest returns on investment you can make. Several nationwide surveys conducted by the University of Washington and the National Gardening Association, showed that mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7 to 19 percent.  

Remember, it’s not just about planting trees, but growing trees. Make sure your trees reach full potential by giving them the care they need in the first five years. 

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