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The City of Kalamazoo has mapped all of its 22,000+ street trees

A sapling with wrapped trunk, braced with stakes on either side, with houses, the street and mature trees in the background. The trees are bare because of the season.
Sehvilla Mann
A sapling on Minor Avenue, planted in 2021 as part of a City of Kalamazoo reforestation effort. The newest trees aren't in the inventory yet.

Anyone can search data from the city's recent tree inventory at an interactive website.

The City of Kalamazoo has more room for trees along its streets; current right-of-way trees number more than 22,000; and maples predominate. The city can say all of this with confidence because it had its street trees counted and evaluated last year. In a recent newsletter, the city shared a website where anyone can look at data from the tree inventory.

Users can see all the trees on a map, or search by type of tree or by size. City of Kalamazoo Public Works Division Manager Anthony Ladd said the inventory turned up as many as 12,000 spots – about 35 percent of the total right-of-way tree spaces – where the city could add trees, though some sites may face constraints such as overhead utilities.

“It’s a little bit flexible, but that does give us a general idea, we have a lot of available planting space in our right of way,” Ladd said.

The inventory, which does not include trees on private property, also revealed a natural death rate of about 200 street trees a year.

“With that mortality rate, that many trees declining, we are trying to go beyond that so that we can net a positive growth in our forestry canopy,” Ladd said.

The city has set a goal of planting 500 trees this year, building on progressmade in 2021.

Laid added that the inventory will help arborists pick the right trees for the right places, so the trees live as long as possible.

“City trees have a shorter lifespan than your typical tree out in the open. There’s more challenges. Obviously with street and concrete and construction and utilities there’s a lot of challenges there,” he said.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. She covered those topics and more in eight years of reporting for the Station, before becoming news director in 2022.