There may be a bit more green in McKinney by the end of the spring— not to mention red yellow, blue, violet, and all the other colors that plants and flowers come in.

At the January meeting of the McKinney Citizens Patrol, the membership soaked up the advice of green thumbs from the city’s Department of Public Works, the Patrol of the Forest, and the McKinney League of City Gardeners.

Specifically, residents learned how to organize tree plantings and to revitalize the neighborhood’s community gardens.

“We are lower than the national average in terms of our number of trees per square mile here in McKinney,” said Oliver Payne, assistant superintendent for Public Work Department Bureau of Street Cleaning and Forestry. “We have identified 30,000 sites where we could plant trees and it is better to do everything now, in winter”.

The national average of trees per square mile in urban areas is 300, he pointed out. Since there are 900 square “curb” miles but only 70.000 trees in McKinney at present. Payne calculates we’re about 200.000 short. But even though the city would like to see many more trees planted within its boundaries, he said, it’s not responsible for maintaining the majority of them. In McKinney, DPW tends only those trees that line View and Park streets.

Payne explained that the department is also considering taking over the care of the trees on 11th Street.

On all other streets, the residents must pay for the planting and upkeep of any trees on their property, as well as pick up the tab for any damage their roots may cause to sidewalks —which is where the McKinney Citizens Patrol of the Forest comes in.

It is a “tree advocacy” group that shepherds residents through the city permit process and acts as a consultant on tree maintenance said Program Director Brian Strickland.