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Tree Canopy Analysis

Unshaded impervious surfaces like parking lots, roofs and roadways absorb and re-radiate heat into the atmosphere, contributing to high energy costs and global warming.

In 2011, planners analyzed Montgomery County’s tree canopy — the layer of leaves, branches, and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above — as part of an effort to improve the local climate of urban areas. The more shade, the less energy required for cooling homes and cars. Moreover, tree canopy shades impervious surfaces like streets, sidewalks and roofs, reducing the amount of heat that radiates into the atmosphere and the amount of stormwater runoff.

The tree canopy analysis, (3.1 MB) conducted by the University of Vermont with high-resolution aerial imagery, found that much of the county contains a healthy level of tree canopy. However, many of the county ’s most urbanized areas are lacking shade — right where it is needed most.

While Montgomery County’s business districts and urban areas should have at least 25 percent tree canopy to maintain a healthy environment, many have much less.

Tree Canopy Explorer screenshot
Launch the Tree Canopy Explorer

 

Urban Areas

The tree canopy analysis determined tree canopy coverage as follows:

Tree Canopy Analysis
Bethesda Central  Business District 24%
Clarksburg Town Center 33%
Cloverleaf Center 23%
Damascus Town Center 33%
Flower/Piney Branch/Arliss Center 13%
Friendship Heights 31%
Germantown Town Center 19%
Glenmont 41%
Grosvenor 44%
Montgomery Hills 8%
North Bethesda 23%
Olney Town Center 21%
Shady Grove 22%
Silver Spring CBD 14%
Twinbrook 16%
White Flint 19%
Wheaton Central  Business District 26%
 

Planting Projects

Members of Cub Scout troop #759 helped plant trees recently as part of a project. Members of Cub Scout troop #759 helped plant trees in Montgomery Hills in November 2011.

Montgomery Hills, a community just north of downtown Silver Spring, was found to have the lowest canopy cover of any urban area in Montgomery County.

To improve tree canopy in the area, Conservation Montgomery organized a tree-planting project for November 5, 2011 at the Seminary Place Shopping Center and other locations throughout their neighborhood. Property owners agreed to a planting project that will place eight trees — four sugar maples and four red maples — in a large parking lot island in front of CVS and in four other locations in the adjacent neighborhood. Trees have been donated by Ace Tree Movers.

Learn more about the Montgomery Hills tree-planting in this excerpt from our Montgomery Plans cable show.

Linden Hills Land Cover

Learn more

Want to know how much tree canopy shades your community? Contact us for a site-specific analysis.

M-NCPPC Staff Contact

Katherine Nelson, Area 3 Planner
301-495-4622
Katherine.Nelson@montgomeryplanning.org

Date of last update: December 16, 2011