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The City Journals

Pretty in pink—city adds another flowering Kwanzan cherry to its 10,000-plus trees

May 29, 2022 01:06PM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

City officials gathered to celebrate Arbor Day by planting a Kwanzan cherry tree at Draper’s Inauguration Park on the last Friday in April. The mid-morning sun was deceiving with chilly temperatures and wind, but the flowering tree’s pink blossoms shone bright amid the other, more mature Kwanzan cherry trees already dotting the park’s landscape.

Brett Sorenson lives directly across the street from Inauguration Park. He was delighted to see another flowering tree planted, a tree he’ll be able to enjoy the view of from his front room. “We love these trees around here. When they bloom, they’re gorgeous,” he said.

Draper’s new city forester Taylor Parker read a proclamation and a letter from the Arbor Day Foundation. Draper City meets that organization’s requirements to be recognized as a Tree City by having a Tree Commission (board of volunteers) who work with a budget to plant and maintain trees in Draper along with other foundation requirements, one of which is having more than 10,000 trees within the city. Parker noted that trees have many valuable benefits including helping prevent erosion, increasing property values and beautifying the city. 

When it came time to plant the tree, Parker worked with Brent Williams, the city’s Parks Manager, to dig the hole and insert the tree. Parker first cut the tree’s roots to help them spread out since it had come from a container. He also noted the importance of planting a tree’s main root just one inch below the soil, otherwise the tree could suffocate. And the forester said he wouldn’t be adding fertilizer to the soil because not doing so would encourage the tree’s roots to spread out into the existing soil.

Mayor Troy Walker noted that Draper has been recognized as a Tree City for more than 24 years. “Trees are going to be more important,” Walker said, as we face issues of drought.

David Cloward has served on the city’s Tree Commission for eight years and he’s currently the chairperson. He mentioned Draper’s tree-lined streets in his remarks, he thanked his fellow volunteers on the Tree Commission, and he noted the importance of trees in dealing with “big picture issues” such as climate change and clean air. “When you plant a tree, it becomes real. You see the benefits a tree can provide,” Cloward said.

The Arbor Day Foundation urges all residents to join in the effort to protect trees and woodlands. The city’s website has information provided by the Tree Commission on recommended trees to plant in Draper as well as links to planting tips from the Arbor Day Foundation and information from Salt Lake City’s Public Works Department about caring for trees in a dry climate.