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South Bay Residents Encouraged to Plant Trees for Arbor Week

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This week, California celebrates Arbor Week. And that's suppose to be a time to plant trees. The San Diego Regional Energy Office is helping people in South Bay plant more trees in their neighborhoods. Joanne Faryon is here to tell us more. 

Marianna Lopez and her daughter have a lot to water in their Chula Vista yard. Marianna has planted trees and flowers since moving into the older neighborhood a couple years ago. But Lopez says you can never have too many trees. She is one of the South Bay residents getting free trees this week.

Lopez: So when they grow they will provide shade to this part of the house, its pretty much uncovered without any protection or anything.

These trees are drought resistant and shouldn't add much to Lopez's water bill. And they'll shade her house and yard and that should save money in air conditioning costs this summer. That's just one of the reasons the San Diego Regional Energy Office is giving away 1000 free trees. Home Depot is paying for the project. The Energy Office estimates shade trees can save homeowners 20 percent in energy costs. And they act as natural air cleaners, removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

Irene Stillings: For a green society, for cleaning up the air, for trying to mitigate the coming changes caused by global warming, trees are a wonderful thing to do.

This neighborhood is about 40 years old. At that time, homebuilders and developers weren't required to plant trees in new neighborhoods. So now communities like this one, have a lot of catching up to do.

Councilmember Ben Hueso: The trees also hide a lot of unpleasantness. If we have grafitti, if we have a wall that's ugly, trees come in and add a lot of beauty to our neighborhoods.

If you don't live in the South Bay area, you may still be able to get a free tree. The San Diego Regional Energy Office has a second program available to anyone in the county who needs shade trees. That program has planted more than 18,000 trees in the county. You can contact the office directly for more information about how to get a free tree.

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