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A Brief History of Tree Lodi

It is inarguable that trees provide multiple benefits. Trees produce life-sustaining oxygen, absorb pollutants, mitigate runoff, decrease the urban heat island, and provide shelter and habitat for wildlife. At a Social-economic level, trees help reduce stress; add to property value; and depending on their location, provide cooling in hot summers and add privacy.

Tree Lodi, Inc., a non-profit community organization, was the brain child of Joyce Harmon. Harmon was a solitary voice at Lodi City Council meetings, sharing her concerns about the mistletoe growing in trees. To increase her effectiveness, she enlisted the help of similarly minded citizens and co-founded Tree Lodi. Our goals are to advocate on behalf of Lodi's urban forest through citizen involvement, education, and planting and maintenance of public-space trees.

Since our inception, Tree Lodi has had a strong working relationship with the City of Lodi vis-å-vis Steve Dutra. Then Superintendent of Parks and current Tree Lodi President, Dutra submitted the first application for the Tree City USA designation and continues to do so every year. He planned and chose the trees in DeBendetti Park Tree Laboratory, monitors the health of trees, and tirelessly advocates and works on behalf of Lodi's urban forest.

The City of Lodi is designated Tree City by Tree City USA, a distinction it has received for 17 consecutive years. Evidence of the City of Lodi's and Tree Lodi's continuing commitment to its urban forests, a city must annually apply for and meet four standards: Tree Board or Department, Tree Care Ordinance, Community Forestry Program with Annual Budget of $2 per capita, and Arbor Day Observance Program.

Often disadvantaged urban areas have less trees than richer areas. With proceeds from a Cal-Fire State of California grant, Tree Lodi partnered with the City to plant trees in Lodi's Heritage District. Property owners and residents agreed to water the trees during the first year and were provided five-gallon watering buckets and reminder magnets. Tree Lodi planted the trees and monitored their health the first year.

In late 2017, Tree Lodi partnered with the City of Lodi and now maintains the City's Memorial Tree Program. A 15-gallon memorial tree can be planted in a city park for $100. Larger 24" boxed trees may be purchased for $300. Tree Lodi works with the City and client to identify an appropriate tree and location and waters and maintains the tree until it is established. Adding a bronze plaque approved by the City is an additional $400 option.

The largest undertaking was planning and planting 213 trees of 26 different species of California native and non-native trees at the Ed DeBenedetti Park Tree Laboratory. Planning began in 2010-2011 with fundraising and outreach efforts. Spearheaded by then Tree Lodi President Gordon Schmierer (UC Master Gardner), the trees surrounding the soccer fields are an outdoor laboratory, selected by Dutra and in anticipation of global warming, the laboratory includes trees that fare well in the hotter climates of California's southern Central Valley. Tree Lodi maintained the trees during the first three years after planting and continues to monitor the trees' growth and health. A map of the trees is in a kiosk at the parking lot entrance.

Written by Robin Fuller, Master Gardener


Promote. Protect. Preserve.

Tree Lodi, Inc.
1049 E Augusta St. Box 701,
Woodbridge, CA 95258

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