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Say, 'Trees!' City Heights just got a lot more of them

The Cherokee Point and Corridor neighborhoods in City Heights are looking more green, thanks to over 400 newly planted trees that include Jacarandas, Hong Kong Orchids and Brisbane Boxes.

The City of San Diego has been working in partnership with San Diego Gas and Electric on the initiative, said SDG&E utility forester Jimmie Webb.

RELATED: The Need For Shade Trees On A Warming Planet

“Our plan is to give back about 10,000 trees every year. So we partnered with the City of San Diego today to plant 17 trees right here in an underserved community, Cherokee Point. And then we're going to add an additional 400 trees,” he said, talking about the City Heights neighborhood.

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Jacob Aere
City workers dig a hole to plant a tree, San Diego, Calif. March 17, 2022.

Another organization working on providing shade to the community is Tree San Diego. Director Elektra Fike-Data said they’ll be passing out flyers in historically underserved communities to let residents know they can get free trees for their front and back yards.

RELATED: Climate Activists Cast Shade On San Diego's Ambitious Tree Planting Efforts

“So we're focusing mostly on disadvantaged communities because they need expanded tree canopy to benefit from shade trees, to benefit from the reduction of energy use brought by trees that are shading an actual building,” she said.

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Jacob Aere
A newly planted Hong Kong Orchid tree blossoms with its pink flowers, San Diego, Calif. March 17, 2022.

The city of San Diego said neighborhoods that don't have a lot of trees can become "heat islands." Mature trees can make those neighborhoods up to eleven degrees cooler in the summer.

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“When you talk about planting trees, it's a legacy type thing,” Webb said. “J. Sterling Morton, the father of Arbor Day, said that the best time to plant a tree is 25 years ago. The second best time is today. And so whatever we do today is really for the next generation.”

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Jacob Aere
City workers plant a Brisbane box tree in City Heights, March 17, 2022.

The City of San Diego will water and maintain the new public trees to ensure they take root and grow.

RELATED: San Diego Creates 'Climate Equity Fund' For Disadvantaged Communities

Webb said that the next neighborhood SDG&E will be focusing on is Allied Gardens, while Fike-Data’s organization is looking to provide trees to San Diego’s East Village.

San Diego residents who would like a tree in their yard can go to branchoutsandiego.org to see if they qualify.