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About the Arboretum

What is the Mt. Lebanon Arboretum?

The Mt. Lebanon Arboretum is a collection of specimen trees found throughout the community in our parks, parklets, traffic islands, street rights-of-way and open spaces. The development of the collection is a project of the community’s Parks Advisory Board in collaboration with the municipal Department of Public Works.

Where is the arboretum?

It’s everywhere in the municipality. Click on the Arboretum Collection Map to find the trees in our collection.

How do I visit?

Use the map to explore the tree collection, or use the Specimen Tree Collection list to find out more about specific trees and shrubs. Click on the Get Involved page to learn other ways to appreciate our municipal arboretum collection.

Why did Mt. Lebanon want to become a municipal arboretum?

Here are some main reasons:

  • An elegant, beautiful and well-planned canopy contributes to the character of our community. People thought of this issue 50 to 100 years ago when they planted trees here, and today we want to pay it forward.
  • Trees are literally part of our local history; look at the name “Mt. Lebanon,” which refers to the Cedar of Lebanon trees that were planted here in the mid-1800s, according to the Mt. Lebanon website:
About 1850, the Rev. Joseph Clokey brought back two Cedar of Lebanon trees from a trip to the Near East and planted them in front of his home off Bower Hill Road. Mt. Lebanon’s name was taken from a particular mountain in a region of the Ottoman Empire, known today as the Republic of Lebanon, where those trees grow natively. The name has been in official use here since the first post office was established and a postmaster was appointed in 1855.
  • Planting new trees in our parks and parklets will help to reinvigorate the landscapes harmed by pests or diseases such as emerald ash borer, woolly adelgid, beech blight, oak wilt and maple decline.
  • Trees provide important ecological services, including reducing urban heat island effect, improving air quality and helping to capture water.
  • Having a plan enables us to anticipate costs, be thoughtful and concerted in our approach to planting new trees.
  • Elevating Mt. Lebanon’s uniqueness. Very few communities in the nation are accredited as arboreta.
  • Improving public awareness and involvement of the municipality’s urban forest and forest management through development of park-specific tree planting plans, and publicly available internet mapping of significant trees and trees in the arboretum collection.

What is “accreditation as an arboretum?”

The benefits of accreditation:
    • Be recognized for achievement of specified levels of professional practice.
    • Work toward higher levels of professional standards once accredited.
    • Identify other organizations at similar or higher levels of accreditation to provide comparative benchmarks and models for further achievement.
    • Earn distinction in your community, university, college, or government agency.
    • Exert leadership and influence by serving as a model to encourage professional development in other organizations.
    • Identify opportunities for collaboration with other arboreta for scientific, collections, or conservation activities.

Why Trees?

  • Trees are good for business. Shaded business district = 11% increase in business.- Center for Urban Horticulture, University of Washington
  • Trees help keep people healthy. Trees outside hospital windows = almost 1 full day less recovery time and fewer pain killers for patients.- Center for Health Systems and Design, Texas A&M University
  • Trees are environmental work-horses. 20,000 new trees = $800,000 worth of utility savings to our region annually.- City of Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission
  • Trees play a key role in storm water management. Large trees can intercept upwards of 2,000 gallons of rainfall annually and can intercept up to 20% of runoff from impermeable surfaces. Every 1,000 urban trees planted [or saved from premature decline] is estimated to save the region more than a million dollars in stormwater management, pollution abatement, and energy costs. For every five percent of tree cover added [or saved] in a community, stormwater runoff is reduced by approximately two percent.- Midwest Community Tree Guide: Benefits, Costs, and Strategic Planting by McPherson, E. et al.
  • Trees help build strong communities. Planting a tree within 50 feet of a house = increased property value of about 9%.- Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania
Visit the Casey Trees and Davey Tree Expert Co.’s National Tree Benefit Calculator for more information.

How much does the municipality spend on trees?

Mt. Lebanon’s experienced staff of municipal foresters is responsible for the trimming, maintenance, removal, and replanting of the community’s 12,000 street trees and 10,000 park trees. The 2016 budget for the forestry-related services was $438,850, which includes funds for pruning, disease/pest treatment, and removal/replacement planting. Tree replacement plantings will incorporate new specimen trees as appropriate from the budget line item approved annually by the Mt. Lebanon Commission.
Here is a breakdown of the five tree-related line items for 2016:
  • Forestry Tree Removal and Maintenance $120,820
  • Basic Tree Trimming $92,440
  • Forestry Replacement Planting $113,440
  • Forestry Increased Forestry Service $92,150
  • Forestry Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Program $20,000