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A Little White Flag That Aspires to Become a Tree

February 02, 2011
A Flag that Aspires to Become a Tree

A Flag that Aspires to Become a Tree

If you’re in Seattle, you may be noticing a lot of little flags popping up like mushrooms in parking strips all over town. The first time I saw them, I thought someone was installing an irrigation system in their hell strip. On closer inspection, I realized the Seattle Department of Transportation and City Arborist office are marking locations for new street trees.

The flags themselves don’t give a lot of detail on the project. They do say to call 684-TREE for more information. I called the number, which lands at the Urban Forestry Information line. Among the myriad of menu options is nothing I could discern providing insightful details about the little white flags. I Googled the phone number and landed on this page about “Creating a Thriving Business District” (through adding trees). Interesting, but still not to the point. Most of the flags I’m seeing are in residential settings.

So I’m curious? Anyone know if the city is laying out locations for new trees they’ll be planting? Do homeowners by these hell strips have any say about the project, the location of the trees, the kind of tree, whether they want a tree or even the care of the trees going in?

I’m all for more trees. But, I have seen a few flags popped into spots in these parking strips that trigger one of my parking strip designer pet peeves. Why in the world would you plant a tree directly in line with a main path to a front door? Why not offset it just a bit?

And what happens if the homeowner doesn’t want a tree? Maybe they’ve got plans to put in an edible garden in the hell strip? What can they do — just pull out the flag and hope a tree doesn’t suddenly arrive?

I’m on a bit of a rant, I suppose. I’m tired of seeing notices on any number of topics that send inquiring minds off on a wild goose chase. And, this seems like one of those. So help me out here — anyone have the scoop on the little white tree flag project in Seattle?


  1. Elaine says:

    It’s all explained here on the city’s website:

  2. Katy says:

    “Hell strip”, ha!

  3. rhaglund says:

    Thanks for finding the right webpage and sending it in Elaine!

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