Trees versus Palms
Biologically, palms are more similar to grasses than they are to trees. Large palms function like trees in some ways, but their shallow roots, skinny trunks, and narrow canopies provide far less environmental benefits than canopy trees. Palms are also more expensive to maintain. They have higher nutritional requirements than any other plant grown in Florida, and many are “non-self-cleaning” meaning their fronds must be manually removed. Let’s cool our city by choosing canopy trees over palms whenever possible!
Source: Peper et al. 2010
Trees and Climate
By the late 20th century, Palm Beach County is projected to see more than 120 days a year with a heat index above 105 degrees. Neighborhoods lacking trees can be 6–10 degrees hotter than well-shaded neighborhoods. Trees also help us cope with the extreme rainfall resulting from climate change—each canopy tree can absorb between 760 and 3,000 gallons of water per year! In addition, trees help mitigate the source of global warming by capturing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it in their leaves, trunks, and roots.
- Read Boynton Beach’s 2020 Climate Action Plan.
- See how the Coastal Resilience Partnership of Southeast Palm Beach County is working collaboratively to assess climate vulnerability.
Trees and Equity
Low-income neighborhoods and communities of color often have lower tree canopy, burdening their residents with higher temperatures and household energy costs. Targeting tree plantings where they are most needed is a tangible way to promote environmental justice in our community.
Recent Articles on Race, Equity, and Urban Heat: