DAYTON, OH (WDTN) — Trees won’t provide much cover in the winter, but in the summer, leaves are in full force, providing shade from the sun, and the Dayton City Commission has started an initiative to get more trees planted in the city.

Matt Joseph, Dayton City Commissioner said, “We’re trying to encourage people to replant trees that may have fallen down or died in the tree lawn.”

Commissioner Matt Joseph is getting the word out to residents that they are able to get trees planted on their lawn for no cost whatsoever through the city, but thanks to federal rescue COVID-19 funding from the government they are looking to do more.

Joseph said, “Residents can call us now if they want a tree in the tree lawn, that area between the sidewalk and the road, and we’ll get them on a list and they’ll get it. It might be a little bit. But in the next year, you’re going to see this new program roll out where we’re going to have a bigger program using federal money to reforest the city.”

Cities are warmer than surrounding areas because of the urban heat island, where the higher number of buildings and roadways retain radiation from the sun resulting in locally warmer temperatures. The solution, tree canopies.

Meg Maloney, sustainability specialist for the city of Dayton said, “When you start thinking about these areas that are attracting a bunch of heat, we can mitigate that pretty easily if we have tree canopy coverage because then it will block the asphalt from absorbing that so then we won’t have as much stress on that infrastructure or have to run our air conditioners more.”

Dayton has seen a loss in trees as a result of the Emerald Ash Borer and the Memorial Day Tornadoes. The city is not only looking to replace those lost in the past, but support natural habitats around the city.

Maloney said, “We see a lot of ecological benefits too, like supporting urban habitat and wildlife, like insects and mammals. You know, the more that we have trees, the more it becomes more of a functional ecological space.”

Maloney said that planting trees reduces energy bills in the summer and increases property values. You can request a tree get planted on your tree lawn by calling the city of Dayton at (937) 333-4800.