Village of Silver Lake Shade Trees

Pay the Shade Forward

In anticipation of Arbor Day (in Ohio, the last Friday of April, which this year coincides with National Arbor Day – April 30), the Village of Silver Lake Shade Tree Commission is encouraging residents to plant a large species tree with the future in mind. One of our goals is to “pay the shade forward” to our children and grandchildren.

Over the past several decades, our Village, along with many other municipalities in Ohio and across the country, has been losing tree canopy cover. Many large species trees in our urban forest will soon die due to age, many others have been removed because of construction, and some have succumbed to pests or disease such as the emerald ash borer or gypsy moth. The Village’s Service Department and STC have developed a master plan to manage Village owned trees. The plan includes yearly inventory, maintenance, new tree planting, young tree training, and removals. But even with those efforts, Silver Lake’s canopy will continue to disappear unless property owners also replace their lost trees.

In 2020, a Canopy Cover Project was initiated to scientifically measure the Village’s canopy cover. Paul Theiss, a founding member of the STC, now an advisor, with support from the ODNR Regional Forester, Alan Siewert, directed the project. Some of the important facts discovered were:

  • The household forest consists of 98% mature trees – trees that have reached their full potential and are generally on the decline, meaning that the forest on private property is in dire need of restocking with new trees.
  • Much of the VSL urban forest is made up of “wildlings”- trees not intentionally planted by the homeowner, often along property lines, many under wires, etc.
  • 35% of street trees have had to be removed since 2003
  • Street trees, which are under the supervision and care of the STC and Service Department comprise less than 3% of the total acres of canopy cover in the Village.

The only way our canopy will recoup and thrive is to ask homeowners to replace and/or add LARGE species trees to their yards. These species include varieties of oaks, maples, elms, sycamores, poplars and many others. These trees will someday be a vital part of our urban forest. Large trees add property value by reducing energy costs, making oxygen from carbon dioxide, capturing storm water, providing wildlife habitat and adding immeasurable beauty!

Silver Lake is a special place not only because of its two lovely lakes, but also due to its many large trees. The Village’s Shade Tree Commission is dedicated to maintaining and replanting street and park trees but also strives to educate residents regarding tree care on private property. The VSL Website has a link to the Shade Tree Commission’s informational page (found under Departments) and it is our hope Village residents will take advantage of this resource and be willing to help “Pay the Shade Forward”!

Marcia Mandala for the Village of Silver Lake Shade Tree Commission

Benefits of Trees

Trees are an integral component of Silver Lake’s urban environment and one of our most cherished assets. Studies have shown that street trees not only beautify neighborhoods but also:

  • Increase property values
  • Stabilize the soil by controlling wind and water erosion
  • Reduce noise levels and cleanse pollutants
  • Produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide
  • Decrease residential energy consumption
  • Provide habitat to wildlife
  • Reduces storm water runoff

For these reasons, city trees are an investment worthy of proper and dedicated care.

How Do Trees Reduce and Remove Pollutants From Storm Water Runoff?

Trees and forests improve stream quality and watershed health primarily by decreasing the amount of storm water runoff and pollutants that reach our local waters. Trees and forests reduce storm water runoff by capturing and storing rainfall in the canopy and releasing water into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. In addition, tree roots and leaf litter create soil conditions that promote the infiltration of rainwater into the soil. This helps to replenish our groundwater supply and maintain stream flow during dry periods.

The presence of trees also helps to slow down and temporarily store runoff, which further promotes infiltration, and decreases flooding and erosion downstream. Trees and forests reduce pollutants by taking up nutrients and other pollutants from soils and water through their roots, and by transforming pollutants into less harmful substances. In general, trees are most effective at reducing runoff from smaller, more frequent storms.

In addition to these storm water benefits, trees provide a host of other benefits such as improved air quality, reduced air temperatures in summer, reduced heating and cooling costs, increased property values, habitat for wildlife, and recreation and aesthetic value.

(Source material and more infomation

Do You Know?

The Village is responsible for the ownership and maintenance of nearly 900 trees. Tree maintenance includes everything from planting, mulching, pruning, and removal.

Which Trees Are Owned By The Village?

  • The trees on the devil strip/tree lawn are Village-owned trees. They are planted and maintained by the Village.
  • On streets with no devil strip/tree lawn/sidewalk, the Village owns a portion of your front yard, referred to as the “right of way”. Ninety percent of this “right of way” is 25′ from the center of the street.
  • Any trees located in the “right of way” space are Village-owned.

Who Is Responsible For Street Trees?

  • The Service Department plants and prunes the devil strip trees and will remove these trees, when necessary.
  • The Service Department creates the mulch beds around new trees and waters new trees.
  • Homeowners maintain the devil strip/tree lawn area. This includes mowing the grass and weeding the mulch bed. If mulch is added, it should be no more than 2″ deep and away from the trunk flare. Learn more by clicking here.

What Can Residents Do On Their Own Property To Help Preserve Our Urban Forest??

  • Maintain existing trees with correct pruning and mulching.
  • Plant new trees in prepared soil, water and fertilize properly.
  • Plant LARGE SPECIES trees to replace those lost to age, disease and construction.
  • Advocate for green space!!!

For further questions, contact the Service Department at 330.923.5233.

Tree City USA

In 2018, the Village earned our 25th Tree City USA award. To receive this award, we must meet these 4 standards:

  1. A Tree Board or Department.
  2. A Tree Care Ordinance.
  3. An annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita.
  4. An Arbor Day observance.

Shade Tree Commission Members

Robert Henry,

Brad McBride, 440.221.8038,

Sheri Petrosek, 330.603.2968,

Debra Sanderson, 330.690.7624,

Advisors/Special Projects:

Ben Gregory (Service Department Liaison), 330.923.5233,

Marcia Mandala, 330.414.4608,

Paul Theiss, 330.696.9235

Proper mulching exposes tree root flair for healthy growth.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. The Village removed a tree from my devil strip. Will it be replaced? The Service Department’s goal is to have every available planting site filled and follows a planting schedule.
  2. How can I have a Village-owned tree planted on my devil strip/tree lawn/right of way? Contact the Service Department with your request.
  3. How do I have a tree planted in memory of a loved one? Visit the Park Board page (here) to learn about Memorial Tree Donations.

Tree Inventory:

Every autumn the Tree Commission inventories 1/5 of the Village-owned trees, assessing tree health, growth, and maintenance needs.

This data is collected and utilized by the Service Department to help maintain a healthy canopy.

Helpful Links:

Division of Forestry Website

Trees are Good Website

Shade Tree Commission Ordinance:

This Ordinance establishes an advisory board to promote the regulation and control of the planting and maintenance of trees and shrubs on Village property, such as tree lawns, Fauser Arboretum, and street islands. Click here to read the Ordinance.


The first Thursday of January, March, May, July, September, and November at 4:00 p.m. at Village Hall.