Community Partners

City of Boulder - Urban Forestry Section

Boulder’s urban foresters are aboriculture specialists within the City of Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department.  They manage the trees located on city property within the city limits of Boulder.  Most of the trees are on street curbs and medians (about 30,000) and in city parks (about 10,000).  The foresters work directly with the trees, pruning for longevity and health, removing dead or diseased trees and planting new saplings. 

Boulder’s foresters work closely with both private citizens and other city departments.  They consult with citizens regarding tree care, partner with the water quality officials, review the design of new development within the city for tree plantings, and enforce tree protection codes.

The urban tree foresters preserve a balance among many different species of trees to achieve a healthy mix.  The foresters have to consider many factors when choosing trees.  The trees must be long-lived; tolerate drought; resist disease; weather cold, frosts, and storms; and do well in Colorado soils.  They shouldn’t drop fruit that attracts bears and other wildlife; they shouldn’t drop limbs easily.  If the trees will be street trees, they can’t produce surface roots that would damage the paving.  The foresters also maintain trees of all ages, ensuring that the city will enjoy the benefits of a healthy urban forest now and decades into the future.

The Urban Forestry Section is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe urban forest as well as preserving an extensive and diverse tree cover for future generations.  A collateral benefit is maximizing the visual, social, economic, and environmental contributions this natural resource has to offer Boulder citizens and visitors. A 2005 study by Dr. Greg McPherson of the U.S. Forest Service concluded that, “Citizens [of Boulder] are now receiving a substantial return on their investment: $3.64 in benefits for every $1 spent on tree care.” These efforts have earned the City of Boulder the Tree City USA designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation since 1984.

Boulder Urban Forestry website >


CreekSide Tree Nursery

Located just east of Boulder, CreekSide nursery specializes in large trees and shrubs, giving helpful guidance to customers as well as assistance in choosing and planting trees.  CreekSide has provided INSTAAR researchers with a stable, protected field site for tree-related experiments since 2004.  CreekSide gives the researchers access to a plethora of correctly identified tree species, all in one location, and protected places to leave monitoring equipment.

CreekSide website >

A young Nordmann fir tree, surrounded by other vegetation. Different species of trees and shrubs produce varying amounts of VOCs. Photo: Sten Porse, obtained from WikiMedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Fruit and leaves of a white mulberry tree. Photo: Luis Fernandez Garcia, obtained from WikiMedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.1-Spain License.

The leaves of a black cottonwood, native to western North America. Studies suggest that poplars like cottonwoods tend to emit more VOCs than many other kinds of trees. Photo: Sten Porse, obtained from WikiMedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.