The planting sites used in Buffalo’s i-Tree Planting Analysis project as part of City Forester Ross Hassinger’s participation in the first-ever i-Tree Online Academy.

As part of the first i-Tree Online Academy, participants were asked to complete a comprehensive final capstone project that demonstrated their ability to utilize the i-Tree tools to analyze trees in their community or to engage community residents in examining the greenspace in their city or town. Projects were developed by each student and they were responsible to carry out all aspects of the design, planning, and implementation of each program.

Buffalo City Forester Ross Hassinger’s project involved the City’s 2018 street tree planting. In the fall season (Oct 15-Dec 31) of 2018, the city of Buffalo put out bids for a local licensed landscape company to plant 56 street trees in the City in various locations as shown in the map above. This is Ross’s report created after conducting his i-Tree Online Academy capstone project.

Newly planted swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) street tree in Buffalo. Photo by Ross Hassinger

Advertisements for bids were posted and licensed landscape contractors were given the opportunity to review bid documents and bid on the planting. The bid documents included tree species, quantities, and specifications for work. Tree species were selected based on site conditions such as available growing space and presence of overhead utility wires. Tree species included: London plane tree (Platanus x acerifolia),  swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor), Sargent cherry (Prunus sargentii), and Red Jewel crabapple (Malus ‘Red Jewel’).

The tree plantings were inspected after installation and again in the late spring of 2019 to determine tree mortality. All 56 trees were found in good condition.

Crabapple (Malus ‘Red Jewel’) street tree in Buffalo. Photo by Ross Hassinger

Using the I-Tree planting calculator, Hassinger determined tree benefits gained from this planting effort. With a projected lifespan of 50 years and tree mortality of 10%, these trees will intercept over 3 million gallons of rainfall and manage over 700,000 gallons of storm water at a cost savings of $6,640.

Trees have the ability to pull greenhouse gasses (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it for long periods of time; 359,239 pounds of carbon dioxide will be sequestered by these 56 trees, with a cost savings of $8,354. Air pollutants removed by these trees include 1,200 pounds of ozone, 152 pounds of nitrogen dioxide, 75 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 73 pounds of fine particulate matter.

Through this planting effort, the trees will save 26,099 kWh of electricity at a savings of $4,603. Additionally, 556 MMBtu of fuel will be saved at a cost savings of $8,824. In total, this tree planting over 50 years will save the City of Buffalo $28,422.96.