Oak Bay arborist

Trees are cool; find out why in Oak Bay

Tree Appreciation Day at Uplands Park this Sunday promises information for gardeners and casual observers alike

Tree Appreciation Day is Sunday in Oak Bay and the public is invited to bring tools to help plant trees in Uplands Park, and attend a guided nature walk.

Between 10 a.m. and noon near the Beach Drive entrance to the park, Oak Bay parks staff will plant Garry oak trees, native shrubs and Camas bulbs. They will also give talks on pruning young trees and planting the right tree in the right place, plus give a workshop on winter moth banding. Friends of Uplands Park volunteers will lead the nature walks.

“Trees give a tremendous amount back to the community,” said Chris Hyde-Lay, Oak Bay manager of parks services. “They’re not just something beautiful and aesthetic to look at.”

Among their functions, he said, trees improve air quality through their leaves, which remove dust and particulates that wash away when it rains. Trees also absorb ozone, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide and produce oxygen.

They help reduce storm runoff – which helps prevent flooding – and provide a windbreak. Larger trees provide a cooling effect, moderating the heat-island effect caused by pavement and buildings in cities, Hyde-Lay said.

Oak Bay has about 10,000 trees planted on municipal boulevards. The well-known Garry oak was named by botanist David Douglas for Nicholas Garry, a deputy governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Garry oaks are drought tolerant and were used by First Nations for combs, digging sticks and fuel.

reporter@vicnews.com