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Trees can reduce city temperature by 10 degrees, study says

The study recommends that a city have about a 40 percent canopy cover for it to notice cooler temperatures. Kosanke said the city of Spokane is working to get near this amount. She said its goal is to have about 30 percent of the city shaded by 2030.

SPOKANE, Wash. – A recent study says that trees can decrease a city’s daytime temperature by up to 10 degrees.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal published the study stating that the right amount of tree cover can provide a noticeable difference in temperature, particularly during the warmer summer months.

“All the grey infrastructure in our city can really absorb and radiate heat, so having some green infrastructure too can really help to cool it,” said Katie Kosanke with Spokane’s Urban Forestry Department.

Kosanke said the study is referring to an area’s canopy cover, or the amount of space that is shaded by trees.

The study recommends that a city have about a 40 percent canopy cover for it to notice cooler temperatures.

Kosanke said the city of Spokane is working to get near this amount. She said its goal is to have about 30 percent of the city shaded by 2030.

“Right now we’re at about 23 percent,” she said. “We’re continually planting more trees and finding ways to preserve more trees and plant more trees.”

She said the city is also constantly working with construction companies to make sure business areas have enough trees on them.

“Whenever a new commercial building goes up, they have landscaping requirements, and that includes (having) street trees,” she said.

She said these city requirements combined with individual efforts can bring them closer to that goal.

Pruning, watering and planting new trees are all suggestions she said will encourage tree growth in the spring.

“Especially with it being springtime, get a head start and water those trees before the hot summer months come,” she said