A Community Planting Event

November 10, 2020 | Written by Kim Hanou


Not everyone realizes this, but fall is a terrific time of the year to plant trees and shrubs. That also makes fall a great time to coordinate community planting events! Sunny and cool fall temps made for a beautiful October planting day in western Arvada, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. The newly developed Candelas community is just south of Boulder and where the prairie of the Great Plains meets the Rocky Mountains. PlanIT Geo™ Founder and CEO, Ian Hanou, rallied neighbors for an educational and informative event. 


Months before this, Ian connected with Josh Stolz, Nursery Manager at the Colorado State Forest Service. Ian shared his vision for restoring and enhancing drainage areas with native trees and shrubs, starting with a pilot project to gauge interest from the neighborhood. Based in Fort Collins, The Colorado State Forest Nursery (CSFS Nursery) key goals are conservation and sustainability. They work with landowners, land managers, ranchers, and farmers to provide low-cost, locally grown plant material to help achieve conservation goals.

The CSFS Nursery produces more than 40 species, all selected for their hardiness and adaptability, which are ideal for landowners and land managers to use for conservation in Colorado’s diverse environments.

These seedlings have many benefits including:


  • Reforest burned areas
  • Enhance wildlife habitat
  • Reduce soil erosion
  • Protect water supplies
  • Serve as living snow fences that provide protection from wind and snow


With the Candelas Sustainability and Landscaping Committees on board, Ian and Josh knew that the community was supportive and prepared. This would kick off a community-wide effort to establish native, riparian urban forests along high-visibility corridors like walking and bike paths for residents to enjoy.

Education and Community Building

A small group of volunteers from the community helped get this initiative rolling. It was a learning experience for everyone with the goal to involve residents in planting and creating a shared, better understanding of riparian forest benefits. Ian started by educating the group regarding site prep, planting depth, and weed identification and removal prior to planting. Three drainage areas in the Candelas neighborhood were targeted to improve species diversity and provide wildlife habitat, windbreaks, erosion control, and beautification.

Right Plant, Right Place

After reviewing the planting plan and learning to identify the seedlings, the volunteers got to work planting a variety of species specifically chosen for their hardiness and beauty:


  • Rocky Mountain Maple
  • Blue Stem Willow
  • Aspen
  • Ponderosa Pine
  • Rocky Mountain Juniper
  • Native Plum
  • Red Twig Dogwood
  • Golden Current
  • Birch
  • Peachleaf Willow
  • Plains Cottonwood
  • Willow

To ensure that landscape contractors (and their mowers) avoid the areas, each tree and shrub was mapped in the Candelas GIS mapping system and a bright orange flag was placed at the base. With the completion of this successful project and a clear plan for the future, planting events and funding opportunities such as Trees Across Arvada through the Colorado Tree Coalition will be expanded in 2021.


The CSFS Nursery has already started pre-orders for Spring 2021 as have many programs across the country. Several new species from bare root plant material are planned for Candelas to further increase diversity and education on riparian areas.


You can also shop, learn how to care for your new trees, identify your current trees, or just explore a great variety of trees at The Arbor Day Foundation.

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