Soak Up the Rain: Trees Help Reduce Runoff

Trees are valued for the beauty and many other benefits they bring to our landscapes and neighborhoods. Trees are increasingly recognized for their importance in managing runoff. Their leaf canopies help reduce erosion caused by falling rain. They also provide surface area where rain water lands and evaporates. Roots take up water and help create conditions in the soil that promote infiltration.

Information About Trees

Urban Tree Canopy, Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA

Stormwater Trees Technical Memorandum, U.S. EPA, 2016
Trees in the urban environment provide many benefits and tree programs face challenges that can affect their success. This technical memorandum addresses planting and maintaining trees adjacent to roadways or sidewalks in urban areas where buildings and impervious surfaces create harsh environments.

Reducing Heat Islands Compendium of Strategies: Trees and Vegetation, U.S. EPA (PDF) (32 pp, 4.5 MB, About PDF)
Shade trees and smaller plants such as shrubs, vines, grasses, and ground cover, help cool the urban environment. Describes the causes and impacts of summertime urban heat islands and promotes strategies for lowering temperatures in U.S. communities.

Trees Tame Stormwater, Arbor Day Foundation Exit
Posters, including an interactive version, describe the problem of too few trees and the many benefits of abundant trees.

Control Stormwater Runoff with Trees, USDA Forest Service (PDF) (2 pp, 127 K, About PDF) Exit
Fact Sheet describes how trees help reduce runoff.

Stormwater to Street Trees, Engineering Urban Forests for Stormwater Management, EPA (PDF) (34 pp, 2.7 MB, About PDF)

Woody Shrubs for Stormwater Retention Practices, Cornell University, 2014 (PDF) (56 pp, 33.2 MB, about PDF) Exit

iTree Exit
USDA Forest Service software to help communities quantify the structure and benefits of trees.

Local resources


The Connecticut Native Tree and Shrub Availability List, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (PDF) (12 pp, 256 K, about PDF) Exit
A (January 2005) native tree and shrub availability list for locating native planting stock.

Native Plants for Landscape Use in Connecticut, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation Exit

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Selecting, Planting, and Caring for Trees and Shrubs in the Maine Landscape, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Exit

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New Hampshire

Planting Trees in Designed and Built Community Landscapes, Checklists for Success, New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, U.S. Forest Service Exit

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Absorb The Storm - Create a Rain-friendly Yard and Neighborhood, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, University of Vermont Cooperative Extension (PDF) (24 pp, 2.5 MB, about PDF) Exit
Discusses a number of steps homeowners can take, including trees, to help prevent the problems associated with runoff.

Main Streets to Green Streets, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (PDF) (2 pp, 4.2 MB, about PDF) Exit
Fact sheet describes some of the issues and benefits of using trees in managing stormwater in our downtowns.

Urban Tree Canopy, Watershed Management, Vermont Agency of National Resources Exit
Basic information and links about urban trees to help manage stormwater.

Tree Pit Fact Sheet, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (PDF) (2 pp, 987 K, About PDF) Exit
Includes information on critical components, constraints and considerations, costs, and maintenance.

Vermont Tree Selection Guide (PDF) (28 pp, 3.7 MB, about PDF) Exit
A guide to help citizens match trees to sites to achieve lasting shade.

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