Trees and shrubs

How important are trees?

You could easily argue that they are the most important plants along the trail. Most of the trail runs alongside tributaries of Vine Creek, which are urban streams much subject to flooding and pollution. Trees and shrubs help deal with this problem. Those next to the creek can help keep banks from eroding. Trees and other plants within 30 ft or so of a stream form what is called a riparian buffer, which helps filter and slow water going directly into the creek.

But perhaps the most important trees are those in the upstream parts of the watershed--the trees in residential yards and lining the streets.  Trees slow down water movement in several ways. Did you ever notice that when you are walking under trees when it starts to rain, you don't start getting wet for many minutes? That's because a large tree can hold over 300 gallons of water before any of it will reach the ground. Trees also take water out of the soil and release it into the air through a process called transpiration--as much as 100 gallons per day for a large tree. And tree roots open up passages in the soil for the water to run down into instead of sheeting off. Any time a tree is removed anywhere in the watershed there is an increase in many gallons of water going quickly into the storm sewers.  Conversely, planting trees anywhere in the watershed helps reduce stormwater runoff.  Do you work or live in the Vine Creek watershed? Check out the watershed map to see!

Trees are also important for wildlife.  Because of their sheer size, they provide food and homes for many insects, mammals and birds. 

There are many species of native and non-native trees and shrubs along the trail and our information  database is  slowing growing. So far it is focused on species that we have planted  as part of our collaboration with PHS. 


Trumpet creeper


American hornbeam

Yellow wood



Tree of heaven