Oct. 27 marked Keep Denton Beautiful, Inc. (KDB)’s 20th Annual Community Tree Giveaway! 700 Dentonites received free trees from KDB at the drive-thru style event in just five hours. This year, seven species were given away: Bald Cypress, Brandywine Maple, Burr Oak, Chinkapin Oak, Lacebark Elm, Mexican Plum, and Shumard Oak. Take a look at the gorgeous event photos taken by local photographers, Gabriel Lee and Trejon D’Angelo.
What is the Community Appearance Index & Why is it Important?
This month, KDB completed its annual Community Appearance Index, which is a visual litter scan to determine how littered our community is (or appears to be) and where coordinated community cleanup efforts should take place. Two teams, made up of volunteers, KDB board members, and staff, teamed up to score litter prevalence along ninety-six different roadway “zones” in Denton. As an affiliate organization of Keep America Beautiful (KAB), we must complete the Community Appearance Index each year, along with a comprehensive cost-benefit report, to remain an affiliate in good standing.
Each zone was rated by district covering 96 roadway zones
How Does the Rating Scale Work?
Keep America Beautiful (KAB) designed a rating scale to determine rate of litter prevalence on a scale of 1 to 4, with “1” indicating the least littered and “4” being extremely littered. The highest score of “4” on the scale indicates extreme litter prevalence, to the point of requiring a coordinated community cleanup effort or even contractor removal of large dumped items.
Litter Index Scale 1: Minimal or No Litter
Litter Index Scale 2: Slightly Littered
Litter Index Scale 3: Littered
Litter Index Scale 4: Extremely Littered
This year, Denton’s overall score increased slightly from 1.4 to 1.5 (on a scale of 1 to 4). Looking at the scores by voting district, District 4 averaged on the low end, with a score of 1.1, while District 2 saw an increase from 1.5 to 2 due to some illegal dump sites.
What Does this Mean?
While it’s difficult to attribute the increase to a single cause, growing population numbers, weather conditions (wind, rain), and frequency of litter cleanup efforts can all play a role in increasing observable rates of litter. Overall, 1.5 is an excellent rating, and we are proud of how clean Denton looks. However, we did see some areas where we’ll need to coordinate more cleanup efforts in the future to ensure our community is the best it can be.
How YOU Can Help
- Organize a special cleanup with friends in Denton – we’ll provide free supplies and point you in the right direction.
- Adopt a spot in Denton! Adopt-A-Spot partners are assigned a mile of roadway and are responsible for keeping it litter-free year-round.
- Pick up litter as you walk or ride around Denton. This is one of the easiest things you can do every day. Take a bag with you when you go on a walk, and pick up what you can. Join Reverse Litter‘s effort to pick up “Ten on Tuesday!”
- Don’t litter! This is a given, but just in case you’ve forgotten…make sure you put your trash where it belongs – in the trash or recycle container. And don’t forget, cigarette butts are litter too, in fact, the most littered item in the country.
With the changing of the season comes more than just cozy sweaters and pumpkin-flavored…well, everything. It also brings one of our favorite fall programs – KDB’s 20th Annual Community Tree Giveaway! For each Tree Giveaway, we consult forestry industry experts – including our city’s urban forester and KDB Board Member Haywood Morgan – to provide seven different native and adapted tree species specifically for Denton soils and climate.
Registration for our 700 available trees opens to the general public Monday, Sept. 17. Want to ensure you get your desired tree? We’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret: KDB Members get access to registration an entire week prior to public registration. Become a member today to get access as early as Sept. 10! Memberships range from $10-$75 and help to support KDB’s programs.
With all this in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you get to know the seven species offered through this year’s Giveaway – whether you’ve got your eye on a specific species, or you’re still making up your mind on your tree selection (don’t wait too long!).
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
This tree is often identified by its stately pyramid shape. It prefers moister soils, and the leaves turn a beautiful rust color in the late summer/early fall.
Mature Bald Cypress; photo by Treeseeds.com
Brandywine Maple (Acer rubrum)
If you’re looking for a flashier tree to bring vibrant color to your yard, maples are the way to go. These trees, often called Red Maples, produce a beautiful fire red color in the fall.
Brandywine Maple trees; photo via plantsofdallas.com
Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Burr Oaks are hearty trees – no joke, they can be burned down and they still come back! These large trees produce beautiful leaves and large acorns and are made for our Texas drought seasons. This is a tree that will last generations!
Mature Burr Oak tree; photo via tnnursery.net
Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)
Offering a spread of 50 to 60 feet and growing an average of one to two feet per year, the Chinkapin Oak is classified as both an ornamental and shade tree, if provided with full sun and room to unfurl its branches.
Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)
Despite what its name may imply, the Lacebark Elm is anything but delicate. Considered a tough landscape tree, it is hardy enough for harsh planting situations like streets, patios, or even parking lots. With a medium growth rate of 3 to 4 feet per year, it grows to a mature height of around 50 feet, encouraging nesting birds and small animals to take up residence in its colorful branches.
Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana)
This tree might smaller than our other species, but it packs a punch in its beauty! Their showy white blooms in the spring smell of honey, which attracts lots of helpful pollinators to your garden. This tree can produce edible plums, hence the name. This one is an excellent choice if you want something a bit different.
Mexican Plum; photo by Neil Sperry, www.neilsperry.com
Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)
These species of oak tree is amazing if you have room for a large tree to spread out. They provide beautiful fall color of yellows, oranges, and reds.
Shumard Oak; photo by Neil Sperry, www.neilsperry.com