City Trees

January/February 2024

City Trees is a premier publication focused on urban + community forestry. In each issue, you’ll learn how to best manage the trees in your community and more!

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Page 35 of 39

Because South Florida is notably flood-prone during hurricane season (June 1-November 30), and because post-colonization Florida is such a highly engineered state, gray infrastructure is extensive, as is the case in Coral Springs. Alzate has been with the City since 2017, and has seen many road expansion and stormwater improvement projects take place in the City. It has been hard to move the needle toward green infrastructure. "The engineers and the public are accustomed to seeing immediate results in the form of gray infrastructure projects," Alzate says. An event with lasting impacts for Coral Springs was the loss of one-third of its trees after Hurricane Wilma in 2005. For that reason, along with the relentless pace of development and roadway con- struction in Coral Springs, the number of trees over 24 inches (61 cm) DBH along medians are less than The Resilient Canopy e Subtropical Climate of City of Coral Springs, Florida Calls for Locally Adapted Trees. To Meet the Demands of a Changing Climate, Claudia Alzate Has Her Eye on a Broader Palette. By Michelle Sutton • Photos by Claudia Alzate 8% of the total median tree population, according to a 2018 tree inventory. And climate change is putting more pressure on newly planted trees. Southeast Florida typically gets most of its annual rainfall during the months of May-October. Typically, newly planted trees in this subtropical region take less than one year to establish. However, like most places on Earth, southeast Florida is experiencing increasingly erratic weather. Alzate says that in the last couple of years, she has observed that the rainy season has changed in duration and intensity. "Last summer, for example, we got a lot of rain— but concentrated in about two to three months," she says. "The other summer months were exceptionally hot and dry." Watering trucks sup- plemented the inadequate precipitation, but even that wasn't enough for many of the trees that had been in the ground for less than a few years. This includes newly planted live oaks. "Although I have concerns about overuse of live oak (Quercus vir- giniana), we continue to plant them strategically because of their durability, shade-providing canopy, and popularity with the public," Alzate says. Typically, summer rainfall along with her crew's weekly watering would be enough to get newly planted live oaks well on their way to establishment. Former Urban and Community Forestry Society (UCFS) Board Member Claudia Alzate is the Environmental Program Manager for the Public Works Department of the City of Coral Springs, Florida (population ~ 133,000), a suburb of Fort Lauderdale in subtrop- ical southeast Florida. Coral Springs borders the vast and iconic Everglades. 36 CityTREES

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