Beatrix Sieger

Beatrix Sieger

Trees that stick up through the snowpack can help to hold the snowpack in place, slowing or stopping an avalanche. A thick, mature grove of evergreen trees can anchor a slab effectively! 

Trees protect communities along the Wasatch against landslides and avalanches. Forests are an affordable and ecologically friendly means of protection. Both standing and fallen trees stabilize the snowpack and prevent avalanches and can reduce the size of the snow slab that is released. In the forest, snow falls from the trees, and the canopy supports the energy balance of changing snow layers. Because the forest snowpack is subject to often unseen inconsistencies weak layers can form less easily avalanche naturally or when disturbed. So a healthy and thriving surrounding forest is able to stem and buffer some avalanches. If the trees can withstand the tremendous rushing force of an avalanche, it loses energy and its progress towards the valley below.

More research and information is being gathers around the world, numerous forest avalanches have been examined, documented, and even simulated to find answers and solutions to mitigating avalanche damage. Tree anchors need to be thick enough to be effective. The more thickly spaced, the more effective. Sparse anchors, especially combined with a soft slab, have very little effect. Spruce and fir trees with branches frozen into the slab are a much more effective anchor than a tree with few low branches such as an aspen or lodgepole pine. Also, snow falling off of trees tends to stabilize the snowpack around trees.

And recently a skier caught in an avalanche that killed four people in Utah survived by clinging to a tree through the onslaught of rushing snow and later helped save two people. Winters have been especially deadly in the U.S., with avalanches coming amid increasing interest in backcountry runs as skiers try to avoid crowded resorts during the pandemic. In the US, avalanches kill 25-30 people and injure many more each winter. Some days are dangerous and some days are not … learning about avalanches will help you decide when, where, and how to visit the backcountry. Learn more about safety at: or at

February 24th - Alta Ski and Trees. Due to a lot of new snow and avalanche concerns this week, TreeUtah and Alta have rescheduled our ski with an arborist series. Stay safe, we will ski and explore trees next Wednesday, same place and time, Alta 1pm!  

Feburary 27th - 9AM-1PM Wasatch Mountain State Park Snowshoe. Due to the storm and icy conditions we were not able to meet this past Saturday but a new date has been scheduled. We will learn about the local trees & history, with good company in a beautiful setting. There is a suggested donation of $10 for the tour, includes the $2 fee to get into the park & you can rent snowshoes for $3. All abilities welcome! Email:


February 10, 2021

For the Love of Trees

It’s time to start thinking about a thoughtful and meaningful Valentine’s why not express how much you care by showing love for the environment at the same time. In place of chocolates or jewelry, try planting or purchasing a tree in someone's honor. One way that people can demonstrate their love for others is to plant a tree because the earth is in need of more green spaces, especially in urban areas. This is a gesture that will be remembered for generations to come, especially for people who understand the value of trees, and after all what is a stroll with your "Sweetheart" without a lane of tree cover above? 

TreeUtah and the Sugar House Park Authority are pleased to present the Commemorative and Memorial Tree Program at Sugar House Park. This program offers people the opportunity to honor friends and loved ones through the planting of a tree in Sugar House Park, adding to the beauty of Salt Lake City’s greatest landmarks. Requests for particular tree varieties will be considered; however, Sugar House Park Authority has final approval. Conifers or a Broadleaf/Deciduous will be planted. Plantings will occur during the spring (April 1st — June 30th) or fall (September 1st — November 30th). Small ceremonies may be arranged by the donor and groups are encouraged to participate in the physical planting itself. Information will be provided once a donor has made a commitment to planting a tree at Sugar House Park.

All gifts are processed through TreeUtah, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Individuals or groups wishing to have a commemorative or memorial tree planted at Sugar House Park should contact TreeUtah’s Planting Coordinator, Ian by email at . 

Trees provide the very necessities we rely upon. They clean our air, protect our drinking water, create healthy, loving communities to nurture the soul. 


TreeUtah is committed to restoring and preserving healthy ecosystems along Utah’s urbanized Wasatch Front. For over 30 years TreeUtah has organized plantings of thousands of native trees and shrubs along the Jordan River corridor and Wasatch Mountain Canyons. Maintaining the ecological health of our waterways and open spaces is critical for sustaining wildlife habitat, as well as ensuring clean water, clean air, and the overall health of Salt Lake Valley residents. In addition, our restoration work builds civic involvement and a sense of community.

Restoration is the act of repairing or renewing something. The Jordan River Parkway Trail is the most popular recreation trail in Salt Lake County. The Jordan River waterway stretches over 50 miles, from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake. The trail and river are used throughout the year by over 100,000 community members for various outdoor activities. The native birds and wildlife are an integral part of the beauty of this critical area. TreeUtah is planting native trees at different sites along the Jordan River corridor. Native trees are important habitat for the wildlife and will ensure these animals can continue to thrive here. 

The canyons of the Wasatch Mountains are the main source of water and recreation for hundreds of thousands of people in Salt Lake County. They are also a critical habitat on the edge of the Great Salt Lake Desert for many species of wildlife. The ecosystems of this vital mountain range are under pressure from the expanding population of the Wasatch Front. TreeUtah is working with local ski areas to ensure these ecosystems can sustain life for generations to come. By planting thousands of native trees at ski areas, we are helping to preserve the recreation opportunities, the wildlife habitat, and the pristine water quality. Conservation and reforestation efforts started in Little Cottonwood Canyon in 1933. The Alta Environmental Center carries on that tradition today. Harvesting seed from the ski area for revegetation and restoration efforts takes work but generally results in more successful plant and tree growth since the seed came from Alta. And, Brighton Ski Resort commits to the development and implementation of a sustainability program designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Planting young native trees will also limit the impact invasive species can have on this critical habitat area. Seeds for plants and trees are harvested at the end of every summer.

Contact us for more information about joining us as a restoration volunteer.

January 19, 2021

Ski With An Arborist

Brighton Resort will be offering free tree tours with our TreeUtah Arborist, Ian Peisner, every 2nd Thursday of each month at 1 pm. Dedicated to outdoor education about the history and future of our forests. During the tour we will investigate the native species that create our favorite tree runs and learn about how these beloved trees form essential habitats.

The trees at Brighton resort provide shelter for numerous local animals, shade from the sun, and a carbon sink for some of the surrounding emissions. Much of the property is considered a part of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Come learn about the Wasatch trees and plants that make up our mountain ecosystem, engage in discussion on the past and future of this landscape.  Also, learn about how you can help in TreeUtah and Brighton’s efforts to preserve our amazing forest! 

These tours will meet at the bottom of Snake Creek Chair Lift 15 minutes prior to the start time.  Tours are free to passholders, ticket holders, and go card holders and will last about an hour. Space is limited. Intermediate skiing/riding ability required. 

Masks are MANDATORY for participation in the tour. Please wear a CDC-recommended face mask over your nose and mouth at all times. It will be requested that members of the tour ride the chairlift only with members of their own party per COVID-19 guidelines. 

Learn more about Brighton Resorts sustainability commitment:

Join TreeUtah Arborist, Ian Peisner, for a skiing and riding tour through Brighton’s forests.  You will be introduced to the trees and plants that make up this community, learn about the ecosystem, discuss the past and future of this landscape, and find out how you can help in our efforts to preserve our forest! 

We will also have the chance to safely visit with some amazing individuals!  Tours are free to pass holders, will last about an hour, and require intermediate skiing/riding ability. Space is limited.  Masks are required.  Tours will meet at 1pm on Thursday 1/14 at the bottom of the Snake Creek Lift. A great way to get out of the house this Thursday!

When you first encounter the bristlecone pine, it's easy to see that these trees must live long lives. Each trunk bend and twist speaks of a hearty and beaten growth to where it stands ever resilient.

Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine, Pinus aristata the oldest living example is 2,500 years old on black mountain in Colorado (related to Pinus longaeva, the famously old bristlecone pines in California). The limited range “Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest” is located in the White Mountains on the eastern edge of California. The grove is home to the famous 4,848-year-old Methuselah tree and to another that is an incredible 5,067 years old. They are the two oldest non-clonal organisms on Earth, the term means they don’t reproduce through cloning, making their trunks as old as their roots. Bristlecone pine is also known as "Wind Timber", "Hickory Pine", "Krummholz" and "Foxtail Pine." Often they will die in sections and as the roots become exposed they will dry out and die giving it distinct twists. The tree is interesting because the needles stay on the limb for over 40 years, unlike most other pines, which shed their needles every few years. 

Native in scattered mountainous areas in the interior West, including Mountains of Utah and the Great Basin. Bristlecones are only found in six states. Slow growing and very long-lived (over 4,000 years old) on dry, tough sites. This hearty tree is seldom used but should be more often; you can even find them at local nurseries. very slow-growing; nice dark green color and interesting, sometimes contorted form; needs little or no supplemental water once established. Bristlecones have 5 needles per fascicle and can grow to be 40-60 feet in height. Don't try planting bristlecone pine trees in areas with clay or heavy soil, good drainage and lots of sunlight is essential!

As you ponder the twisted beauty of the weathered and gnarled trunks, take a moment to reflect on all they have withstood after 5,000 years of wind, sun, snow, and rain! Because these trees are thousands of years old, we can understand what the environment was like thousands of years ago and gain valuable information on climate.

TreeUtah staff has a few short winter months to plan for the next tree planting season! We are working tirelessly because trees have many economic, environmental, and social benefits. They improve our lives and the places we live. There are many reasons to plant and care for trees. It's our season to plan projects for 2021, and the more donations we receive by the end of 2020, the more trees we can order and we will plant in the spring. As the old proverb goes: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

We plant large trees in public spaces throughout Utah including city parks and school playgrounds. This program works to build public awareness and understanding of the needs and values of healthy community urban forests. If your community group or business is interested in getting involved, consider sponsoring a group tree planting. Your commitment to sustainability will be recognized and you can leave a lasting impact on your local community.

We went beyond our planting goals, which were larger and bolder than even our blockbuster year of 2019! We did it by holding many more, smaller COVID-safe events with our dedicated volunteers, and with donations made by businesses and individuals that support TreeUtah. These trees immediately provide cooling shade, clean the air and water, and beautify our neighborhoods. We wouldn't be able to plant as many trees as we do without the support from donors like you. Thank you!

Did you know that donations up to $300 to TreeUtah (and any 501(c)(3) nonprofit) are tax-deductible this year even if you don't itemize your taxes? It's part of the CARES Act and is a great incentive to make your money go that much further. 

December 15, 2020

Trees In Winter

The sight of snow and frost on trees in winter looks picture perfect outdoors and sometimes you can hear the sharp crack of trunks adjusting or the plunk of heavy snow descending from branches. We notice the beauty and sight but how do trees survive all the seasonal changes, especially in winter?  

Trees first slow down their cellular growth, focusing their energies on survival through the sometimes long winter. Trees go through a process like hibernation called dormancy, this dormancy keeps them alive during the cold temperatures, everything within the tree slows down; metabolism, energy consumption, growth and more. Trees do not die during the winter; they just take a break. Since there is less sunlight in the winter and the tree can't produce as much food, trees must conserve their energy for future seasons. While trees are dormant on the surface, above ground, the underground tree system made up of roots is busy at work growing, searching, and retaining nutrients to help get the tree through the winter to have enough resources available into its next active season. 

Impeded growth messages in the tree, which saves a lot of energy to stall or impede growth during the winter, during this time the tree isn't making any new food for energy. The tree will also begin to change how it deals with water within its tissues, while the water in the cells may get below freezing, it can’t form crystals so trees rarely freeze over and die. Trees transform starch into sugars that act as a sort of antifreeze. 

Deciduous trees shed their leaves because of snow, as well as cold, and to halt all growth. For evergreens, like pine and spruce, leaves have evolved into long thin needles. These needles are covered in a waxy substance which helps reduce moisture loss and damage from colder temperatures. Evergreen needles and even the bark of some trees, such as the poplar tree, can still make food through photosynthesis, even when temperatures are below freezing. Many evergreens have branches that are flexible enough to bend under the weight of heavy snow, this prevents branches from breaking and damaging this trunk. Flexible branches that bend downwards can also shed snow, unfortunately sometimes right on top of our heads!

Trees are incredibly adaptable and capable when it comes to surviving winter weather. Making sure your trees receive proper water and fertilization during the spring, summer and fall can ensure they’re ready to face the winter. Proper mulching can also protect roots during freezing weather. Many people plant trees in the fall. The roots won’t have much time to establish before winter. Several inches of appropriate mulch for the species of tree can help. So can installing guards or braces to keep the tree upright until spring.

Trees in winter are incredible, they can adapt to freezing temperatures and provide us with warmth and safety! 

"Planting trees started as voluntary work for one of my classes at the U. Now the early, cold morning sounded a little bit hard, especially the colder the mornings got. But I cannot stress enough how refreshing it was to be out. With the strange year that we have had with Covid-19, being able to not only see, but interact with other people from all different types of background was so refreshing. Aiding Tree Utah in planting trees, started off as voluntary work that had to be done for a University course, but I can honestly say that as the winter months hopefully fly by, I will be getting back in contact with Tree Utah to have more volunteer opportunities. I can honestly say that planting trees was not only so beneficial for Utah, but it brought so much to me as an individual I will now be making it a part of my every yearly activities." TreeUtah Volunteer -Laurie-Anne Truchon-Thibeault

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