Saratogian Article On Sustainable Tree Planting

Tree Toga: Volunteers plant 50 new trees throughout city


Volunteer forestry specialist Rick Fenton gives workers tips on how to plant trees correctly during Saturday’s “Tree Toga” program, which is part of Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry Project. Paul Post –

By Paul Post, The Saratogian

Posted: 05/01/16, 1:00 AM EDT |


A crowd of more than 125 people helped plant trees as part of Saturday’s “Tree Toga” program. Paul Post –

SARATOGA SPRINGS >> The Spa City’s future is greener and healthier thanks to the 125 volunteers who turned out Saturday for “Tree Toga,” an Arbor Day tree planting initiative effort.

Workers planted 50 trees at 29 locations throughout the city after gathering at High Rock Park for a briefing and instructions.

Tree Toga, in its third year, is part of the non-profit Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry Project.

“This year we planted pin oaks, basswood, hackberry and Kentucky yellowwood,” said Thomas Denny, project chairman. “They’re all large shade trees. We’re trying to get more diversity in the forest. At one time there were only two main types of trees here, mostly elms. When the elm blight hit, there were almost no trees left.”

People could join the effort by helping plant, or by “hosting” a tree along the sidewalk in front of their home and agreeing to water and nurture it for two years.

First-year participants Jim Sculli and George and Patti Tobler planted a tree on Walnut Street with Brad Birge, the city’s Planning and Economic Development administrator, who enlisted their help.

“It’s a fun thing to do,” Sculli said.

“It’s a great opportunity to reestablish trees within the city,” Birge said.

Several years ago, the Urban Forestry Project conducted an inventory of the roughly 5,600 trees throughout Saratoga Springs. They were identified for type of species and their overall health and condition.

Tree Toga resulted in 25 new trees planted in each of the program’s first two years, paid for by money in the city Department of Public Works budget.

This year, that number was doubled to 50 trees thanks to $3,000 worth of private donations to Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry Project.

Volunteer forestry specialist Rick Fenton gave workers tips on how to plant trees correctly. They were all bare-root stock, making them easier to handle than large heavy root balls encased in burlap.

Workers were instructed to remove sod in a four-foot circumference and dig holes roughly a foot deep. Mulch will be placed around trees in the near future.

City work crews will pick up excess sod left behind at each site.

Denny said trees planted each of the past two years are doing quite well.

“They’ve actually had a pretty good survival rate,” he said.

For information go to:


One thought on “Saratogian Article On Sustainable Tree Planting”

  1. So many better names to call it, rather than “Tree Toga”.
    I thank the volunteers, but hate the choice to describe the event.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: