trees, palm trees, arborists, miami-dade, environment, sea level rise, climate change, pollution, greenhouse gas, co2, fossil fuel, energy, air quality Save South Miami Beach; Plant A Tree – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One of the best things you can do to fight climate change? Experts say it’s planting a tree, but don’t just plant anywhere, and consider something other than a palm tree.

“You have the sidewalk here and the roadway and probably what you have in between these two impervious surfaces is compact,” Lazaro Quintino, Miami-Dade Tree and Forest Resources Section Manager said.

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Climate change is a real problem already impacting South Florida, with sea-level rise, we are seeing more flooding.

“Put more trees in the ground, it’s very important, not only for Dade County, also for carbon sequestration, lowering the sea-level rise,” he explained.

Trees can even help to mitigate floods, but important to pay attention to what trees go where. A big problem in Miami-Dade County is many trees have not been planted correctly so they have to be removed, undermining the effort to build up the county’s tree canopy.

“We see these types of issues very frequently,” Quintino said.

He told CBS 4, making sure a tree has the right soil source is very important. It’s also necessary to make sure a tree’s roots are not wound up in a ball or circular coming out of the pot. Also, pay close attention to structures nearby that may become an obstruction.

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“50 years ago there was a significant amount more of open space, green areas, natural areas.”

Miami-Dade currently has a goal of 30% tree canopy. However, a recent report released in October revealed the county is only at 20.1%.

It’s changed little from the last survey in 2016 which was 19.9%. Of course, change takes time, but one catastrophic storm event could knock down a ton of trees to lower the canopy coverage.

“My suggestion would be planting native trees slowing growing hardwood species and if you have the room obviously plant trees that get to a large size at maturity.”

South Floridians love palm trees, but they’re not as good at sequestering carbon dioxide, that’s the primary greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

“This is one of the species I chose, Spanish stopper, fairly slow-growing and like I said, probably about 15 feet maybe 16 feet,” Quinito showed CBS 4.

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There are numerous native trees to choose from, but whatever a grower chooses, Quintino thinks it’s time to stop treating trees as a temporary landscape, but a resilient canopy that must be maintained like any other resource.

Jacqueline Quynh