30 Year Tree Canopy Goal


Typical tree cover in a new subdivision

Level of planting needed to acheive the tree canopy goal by 2037

The Board of Supervisors formally adopted a 30-year tree canopy goal based on recommendations in the Tree Action Plan, funded by the Environmental Improvement Program.. The goal is to increase Fairfax County's tree cover to 45 percent by the year 2037.

The county is doing what it can to plant trees to improve our environment by planting trees at county facilities, but planting space is limited on county-owned properties. There are only 4,200 acres available for tree planting on county-owned properties and commonly-owned open spaces. Therefore, the majority of tree planting required to meet the 30-year tree canopy goal will have to occur on privately-owned residential lots!


The Facts

  • 40 percent of Faifax County is presently covered by the canopies of trees.  
  • If tree planting efforts are not increased, by 2037, we could lose approximately 4 percent of our tree canopy cover.  
  • The loss of enviromental services that will result if our tree cover continues to decline will be significant!
  • Reaching the tree canopy goal requires planting an additional 2 million trees.
  • An average of 83,740 trees will have to be planted annually.
  • The community already plants an average of 21,000 trees per year.
  • Residential lots have the most space for planting new trees in Fairfax County.
  • Commonly-owned open spaces have some space for planting trees.

Who Can Help Fairfax County Reach the Tree Canopy Goal?

What Can You Do?

  • Plant trees on your property.  Plant about 20 feet away from your home on the western exposures for optimum energy conservation.
  • Plant at least one tree per car in your household to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Get involved with community tree planting groups such as Fairfax ReLeaf and Earth Sangha.  For more information, visit www.fairfaxreleaf.org or www.earthsangha.org.
  • Advocate for tree planting on commonly-owned open spaces in your community.
  • Remember that all trees need to be maintained after they are planted. Visit the Virginia Department of Extension for more information about tree planting and maintenance.  
  • Be sure to plant the right tree in the right place.  Use the Fairfax County Public Facilities Manual as a guide.   
  • Preserve trees during construction.
  • If every resident in Fairfax County plants two trees for every member of their household over the next 30 years, we will exceed our tree canopy goal!

How is Fairfax County Helping Reach the Tree Canopy Goal?

You may have noticed that trees are being planted throughout the county. The Urban Forestry Division has helped plant trees in various Fairfax County property. These trees are planted to help contribute to the 30 Year Tree Canopy Goal. So far hundreds of trees have been planted across the county.

  • In 2007, 214 trees were planted on 17 sites
  • In 2008, 123 trees were planted on 10 sites
Stormwater pond before tree planting
Stormwater pond after tree planting

For more information about planting trees or the 30-year tree canopy goal, contact the Urban Forest Management Division at 703-324-1770, TTY 711, or by e-mail.






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