It’s all about the trees

Programs demonstrate area’s commitment to planting and maintenance
Trees line the shore of Reeds Lake in John Collins Park in East Grand Rapids. Courtesy East Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department

The City of East Grand Rapids announced that it has received a “Tree City USA” designation from the Arbor Day Foundation for its care and maintenance of city trees, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Friday, April 28, is Arbor Day.

“This Tree City USA honor exemplifies the City’s ongoing commitment to East Grand Rapids being a green, healthy and beautiful place to live,” said East Grand Rapids Mayor Katie Favale of the program, which is co-sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters.“We are proud to maintain our urban canopy for all to enjoy – and we thank the Arbor Day Foundation for recognizing this important work.”

In 2016, the City of East Grand Rapids completed a tree inventory and risk assessment of its 7,200 trees in the public right of way and developed a preventative maintenance plan for the tree canopy. Ongoing tree maintenance and treatment of diseased trees take place each year.

To promote tree planting, EGR offers an annual tree planting program to residents who want a tree added to the area between the sidewalk outside their home and the street. The cost for each tree is evenly shared between the homeowner and the city. Plantings generally take place in the fall and early winter.

“The East Grand Rapids Public Works Department works year-round to maintain the community’s public trees,” said Doug LaFave, deputy city manager who oversees the city’s forestry division. “We plant new trees in the fall, prune in the winter and implement other maintenance operations throughout the spring and summer.

“By caring for our public trees and offering a planting program, the city uniquely engages residents in its mission to care for our urban canopy.”

2023 marks the ninth year in a row that EGR has achieved a Tree City USA designation.
For more information about the East Grand Rapids tree maintenance and tree planting programs, visit

The City of Grand Rapids is also making efforts to grow its canopy. As part of the City  Master Plan dating back to 2011, Grand Rapids established a goal to increase its tree canopy cover from 34.6% to 40%. Five years later, the nonprofit group Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, along with the Mayor’s office and the City Forestry Department, launched the Mayor’s Greening Initiative, which involves engaging community members to help the city reach that 40% canopy goal.

ArborFest, the City of Grand Rapids annual spring community-wide tree planting event, is scheduled to take place at Roberto Clemente Park Friday, April 28, 1-4 p.m., and Saturday, April 29, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

To learn more about ArborFest visit the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks website.


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