Plant Trees and Spread Happiness

KIB volunteers from NextGear Capital planted 130 trees along the historic Meridian Street corridor as part of a plan to plant 10,000 trees in the city. IMM photo.

Citizens Energy Group, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, and the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) have formed a long-term partnership to plant 10,000 trees across the city as a way to create greener neighborhoods and reduce combined sewer overflows to area waterways. The 10 Thousand Trees initiative supports Citizens Energy Group’s $2 billion investment that will nearly eliminate combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to area waterways by 2025.

Trees provide multiple benefits to urban areas like Midtown. Below are a few of the reasons why planting trees is not only good for your yard but also for the entire neighborhood. Remember to call 811 before you dig to make sure you know where utility lines are situated in your yard. Be sure to choose the right tree for the right location.

  • Trees are the lungs of the city. They help clean the air by absorbing airborne pollutants—including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen, and ozone—and releasing oxygen.
  • Street trees calm traffic. Not only are they picturesque, trees in landscape strips cause motorists to reduce speed, which improves overall traffic safety. An added calming benefit is a reduction in road rage.
  • Trees are good for business. By creating a pleasant walking atmosphere, trees can increase commercial foot traffic. Residential properties with mature trees command higher prices. Dan Burden, co-founder of Walkable Communities, writes, “For a planting cost of $250 to $600, a single street tree returns over $90,000 of direct benefits in its lifetime.”
  • Trees provide green infrastructure services. They absorb precipitation and release moisture back into the atmosphere. They store and slowly release precipitation into ground water and aquifers. Trees slow the velocity of precipitation, thereby reducing erosion effects and storm water runoff.
  • Trees provide habitat for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife.
  • Trees improve human health. Access to a mature tree canopy protects exposed skin from the sun, lessens respiratory problems, reduces noise and stress, and improves overall emotional and psychological well-being.
  • Trees mitigate the “urban heat sink” effect. Large paved areas absorb solar rays and radiate heat that can increase air temperatures 3 to 7 degrees. Urban street trees have been shown to reduce air conditioning needs by 58 percent.
  • Trees are beautiful. Whether lining streets with a leafy canopy, hiding unsightly utility infrastructure, shading parking lots, or adding a buffer between motorists and pedestrians, trees add year-round aesthetic value.

Compiled from USDA Forestry Service, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., and


Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc.
Indiana Urban Forest Council, Inc.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Urban Forestry
Call Before You Dig
Walkable Communities