Urban Forestry Division
The role of the Urban Forestry staff is to assist the citizens of Key West with the preservation, education, and management of the communities tree canopy and landscaping. The role also includes serving as staff for the Tree Commission.
Arbor Day 2021
In honor of Arbor Day, the City of Key West along with the Monroe County Extension Service, planted a Krugs Holly tree in the butterfly garden at City Hall. The Krugs Holly tree is native to south Florida and the Bahamas and provides significant food and shelter for wildlife. This area of the butterfly garden is undergoing renovations and this newly planted tree will be the start of future plantings to enhance the garden. A large strangler fig tree existed in this location last year and fell over in a storm, damaging nearby plants.
“The Extension Service procured the tree from the Key West Botanical Garden,” said the City’s Urban Forester Karen DeMaria, “and I chose the species based the planting location and the tree’s benefit to birds, bees, and butterflies.”
As part of the planting, the extension services filmed a how-to video about the proper way to plant a tree. It will serve to help the community, and the video will also be a training tool for the City’s Community Services Department, which plants the trees.
In 2020, the City purchased and planted five canopy trees, 16 subcanopy trees, and nine palms on City properties, primarily in street planters and park areas. The City also accepted as donations and planted on City properties -- streets and parks -- a total of 13 canopy trees, nine subcanopy trees and five palms.
In 2019, the City purchased and planted 13 canopy trees, 26 subcanopy trees, and six palms. Five canopy trees and three subcanopy trees were donated to be planted on City properties.
Arbor Day is observed nationally to celebrate the role of trees in our lives and to promote tree planting and care. The City of Key West has long recognized the importance of its trees and its environment and has been a member of Tree City USA for nine years.
In the photo: Key West Urban Forester Karen DeMaria was joined by Monroe County Extension Service’s Michelle Mularz, and Tree Commissioner Ed Cunningham, along with members of Community Services and extension Service interns to film the proper way to plant a tree.
Community Creates Green Space
A dedicated group of people who live aboard at Garrison Bight gathered on Tuesday with City Commissioner Sam Kaufman and the City’s Urban Forester Karen DeMaria to celebrate the planting of two new trees in what has become a liveaboard community park.
Colleen Hough approached the City about beautifying what she called “a corner patch of scraggly grass” alongside the parking area, a place where residents, she said, like to sit with their dogs.
Residents had already worked to improve the area by scattering some potted plants, a bench and some chairs. But, Hough noted in an email to DeMaria, it still was uninviting due to the lack of shade.
According to DeMaria, the two gumbo limbos planted by the City’s Community Services crews, were donated by a resident who had removed some trees. Under the City’s tree ordinance, trees must be replaces when removed, and if there is no place on a property to plant a replacement, the removing entity can donate an equivalently sized tree and the City can plant them on public property. That’s what provided these two healthy trees to the folks at Garrison Bight.
Now the little pocket park created by the liveaboard residents will be a more inviting and shadier place to contemplate the nearby water.