One of the things that distinguishes Jackson Heights from other neighborhoods is its old-growth flora, and most notably, its tall Southern pines. Many neighborhoods in our city have fewer trees or smaller deciduous trees which lose their leaves in winter. Jackson Heights is unique – an evergreen kingdom of sentinel pines and leafy oaks.
Please help maintain the natural, stunning beauty of Jackson Heights by retaining our trees, particularly our spectacular pines, whenever possible. Clear-cutting can make yards look sad and barren, and it drastically lowers the curb appeal, especially for smaller, older homes. A diminished tree population impacts our neighborhood in more ways than one.
Why Cutting is Bad
Trees are essential for stormwater management and help prevent runoff and soil erosion.
They provide nesting grounds or hunting perches for various wildlife species (owls, hawks, bats) which keep the rodent and mosquito population down.
A strong concentration of greenery helps to keep the air cleaner, which is important since we are surrounded by heavy traffic roads (Airport Blvd, University Blvd, Azalea Rd). Much of this bad air is cleansed by the extraordinarily thick growth of trees, bushes and hedges for which Jackson Heights is famous.
Our evergreen trees and plants are not only beautiful, but unlike deciduous trees which lose all their leaves for half the year, evergreens produce abundant oxygen year ’round, making the air in our neighborhood much cleaner than those without similar flora.
Reduces Cooling Costs
Lots of trees, especially trees much taller than your house, provide shade and help keep the air temperature cooler. This keeps your home cooling costs down.
Wind Break…and the Pines are Less Likely to Fall
During hurricanes, Jackson Heights always sustains less tree damage than other neighborhoods. Unlike stocky trees with shallow root systems, the slender longleaf pines are more flexible and tend to bend with the wind because their root systems are so deep.
Of course, like all trees, pines can be uprooted or broken in very severe storms. But over the decades, more homes in the Mobile area have been damaged by oaks and other types of trees during hurricanes than by the tall pines.
It’s not just aesthetics, it’s $$$
Landscaping is a vital element in property value. Property values of homes with trees are up to 20% higher than equivalent properties without trees.
For statistics, see these websites:
Or search for “trees” and “property value” using an internet search engine.
Cutting is a decision which lasts a lifetime
Some species of trees can be grown to full height in a decade. However, it takes 100-150 years for the pines to grow to their full height, and they can live as long as 500 years.
While the pines survive hurricanes more readily than other types of trees, Hurricane Frederic in 1979 was unusual in the fact that many pines in Jackson Heights were lost. Some residents replaced them with pine saplings, in the hopes of restoring the original look to their yards. Many of those replacement pines now, decades later, have still not reached the height of the more mature pines that were left standing after Frederic.
Once you cut them, it changes the look of the neighborhood for a very long time.
It’s illegal to cut trees without a permit
There is a city ordinance concerning tree cutting. In many cases, you must have a “land disturbance” permit to cut, and you must prove your reasons for doing so. There are environmental and beautification ramifications for needless tree cutting, hence the city laws prohibiting this.
From the Municode website:
All clearing and/or grubbing activities, whether required to obtain a land disturbance permit or not, shall:
a. Observe erosion and sedimentation control requirements found in this article;
b. Obtain all other necessary permits, licenses and authority and to pay all fees required by any other city, county, state, or federal rules, laws or regulation, provided, however, that the responsibility for acquiring all permits remains with the owner/developer; or
c. Comply with all requirements to preserve and protect trees.
For more information, see:
Mobile City Ordinance
Chapter 17, Article 1: Stormwater Management and Flood Control
Division 1: General
Sec. 17-6: Permits
Click here to see the city ordinance at the municode.com website.
Please avoid cutting whenever possible. Thank you!
Trees Most Likely To Withstand Hurricanes & High Winds
This article contains images and information on root systems, and which types of trees are more likely to fall or tip over in severe weather.