All About Trees

A new partnership has sprouted up with the goal of planting more trees in Lancaster City and engaging residents in the process. A collaborative effort, Lancaster Tree Tenders is an initiative of the Lancaster County Conservancy Urban Greening program with partners Lancaster City Alliance and the City of Lancaster. Their purpose is “To increase and enhance Lancaster’s urban forest by engaging and empowering neighborhoods to plant and care for trees”. Together, they are working to increase Lancaster City’s tree canopy cover from 28% to 40% within twenty-five years; this goal is part of the City’s Green Infrastructure Plan to help manage stormwater and create a more sustainable community.

All About Trees

Who doesn’t love a shady tree-lined street, especially in the heat of the summer? We are fortunate to have some 6,000 street trees in the City of Lancaster which help save energy by reducing cooling costs, release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide to freshen the air we breath and increase property values.  Trees also connect us to nature.  More trees in neighborhoods have been correlated to reduced crime and increased neighborhood pride.

According to the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment released in February 2011, Lancaster City has an estimated tree canopy of 28 percent. The goal is to increase the tree canopy to 40 percent. To achieve this goal, we need to plant a lot more trees.

First, we need to fill in all of the existing empty street tree wells.  There are about 1,200 of these throughout the city. Want to learn more about street trees?  

In the fall of 2014 the City of Lancaster updated its Tree OrdinanceStreet Tree Planting List, and created a Tree Manual with the intent of reducing tree canopy loss and implementing urban forest management improvements through requirements for the planting and transplanting of trees, the care and maintenance of existing trees, tree protection, and the preservation of trees.

During the summer of 2011 a comprehensive Tree Inventory was completed of all street trees in the City of Lancaster.  We currently have 5,483 trees and 77 different varieties identified. In 2016, the City compiled this information into a searchable database. City’s Department of Public Works now maintains the data, updating it as trees are planted and removed each year. City Staff can edit the inventory using iPads and smart phones, and they can quickly run reports on tree diversity, health, and location. Use the map link below to explore street and park trees, planting opportunities, and overall tree canopy throughout the City!

Explore the Lancaster City Tree Map!

Franklin Terrace – Riparian Buffer Planting

Stormwater Capture: Approx. 2,000 GAL / TREE / YEAR
The Lancaster County Conservancy Urban Greening program recently completed a riparian buffer planting along the Conestoga Greenway and River in Southeast Lancaster City.  The purpose of the planting was two fold: 1) Increase the canopy in the neighborhood from 32% to close to 50%, creating a model for other neighborhoods.  2) Educate local residents and students about the many benefits of trees.

For details and images from the planting click here.

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Over 60 volunteers from the neighborhood, McCaskey High School, and Alcoa assisted Lancaster City Housing Authority staff and volunteers in completing the planting.



What’s next ?  The City of Lancaster and Lancaster County Conservancy are working with community and neighborhood partners to identify strategic planting locations in each quadrant of the City.  With support from foundations, local residents, churches, businesses and community groups we have planted an additional 270 trees since 2013.

Tree Fact Sheet (PDF)