News - Washington City Utah

News Article Viewer, Posted: May 5, 2023

Mayor’s Message

Under A Shade Tree

Someone said that “to be without trees would, in the most literal way, to be without our roots”. Washington City has deep roots, including two historic mulberry trees. Pioneer settlers first planted mulberry trees here over 150 years ago, and introduced silkworms to eat the leaves so that their cocoons could be unraveled and spun into silk thread at the Cotton Factory. One of those remaining historic mulberry trees can be seen right on Telegraph Street, in front of the Relief Society Building. It’s worth stopping and enjoying a few moments there.

The last Friday in April is when communities across America celebrate Arbor Day. I issued a Mayoral Proclamation supporting that day, and  highlighted it during the recent Ribbon Cutting of Sunrise Valley Park, where I had the opportunity to plant a Shumard oak tree to accompany the desert willows and sycamores previously planted there. I’m sure we will all enjoy watching these trees grow over the years, and benefit from the shade they provide.

Because of our commitment to planting and caring for trees, Washington City was named as a 2022 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. This is the 10th consecutive year we have earned this honor, and this time we also received a Growth Award for going above and beyond. This recognition came by means of an official letter that is now sitting on my desk at City Hall.

As you know, trees are not only important for providing shade, but also for improving the air quality we breathe, reducing noise pollution, and enhancing the aesthetic beauty of our surroundings. They also cool the hot desert ground, especially in desertscapes where we plant little to no grass. Washington City is fortunate to have a diverse array of tree species, including the unique palo verde and honey mesquite that thrive in our arid climate.

Under the directive of the Washington City Shade Tree Committee, staff has implemented a comprehensive tree maintenance program that involves regular pruning, fertilization, and disease prevention measures to ensure the continued health and longevity of our urban forest. This program is a testament to our city’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the responsible management of our natural resources. In fact, each city owned tree is inventoried by species, location, and age.

Now, to lighten the mood a bit, did you know that trees have their own social network? They connect with each other through an underground fungal network known as the “wood wide web.” It’s fascinating to think about how these organisms work together to promote the health and vitality of our community.

I urge all residents to play an active role in preserving and protecting our city’s trees. By planting new trees, properly maintaining existing ones, and supporting local initiatives, we can ensure that Washington City remains a beautiful and vibrant place to live for generations to come. Our future is bright, so let’s make sure we have plenty of shade.

-Kress Staheli


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