NYC Parks plants most trees since 2018, with emphasis on city’s hottest neighborhoods

DSC_0177 Arbor Day Planting 4 26 24 MP
The Parks Department is on track to plant 18,000 new trees throughout the city by the end of the 2024 fiscal year.
Photo courtesy NYC Parks/Malcolm Pinckney

As the summer heat begins, NYC Parks announced it has planted over 15,000 new trees during fiscal year 2024, with 3,000 more projected to be planted by July. 

The city has increased its tree plantings three years in a row toward the city’s goal of 30% canopy coverage, according to the Parks Department. Currently, about 22% of the city has coverage — and some of the new plantings were strategically located in hot spots in the Bronx and across the city. 

“Trees are a crucial investment in New York City’s climate resiliency infrastructure, and NYC Parks is proud to announce another record setting year in tree planting throughout the city,” said Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue in a press release announcing the plantings. 

“New Yorkers rely on our trees to provide vital shade, and with climate change leading to more frequent, intense heat, the need is more prevalent than ever,” Donoghue added.

New York City is home to about 7 million trees, including 128,690 mapped trees in the Bronx, according to the interactive NYC Parks Tree Map. Manhattan has 96,407; Queens has 291,325 and Brooklyn has 229,736. Combined, the city’s trees generate about $126 million in savings based on stormwater intercepted, air pollutants captured and energy conserved, according to the map. 

But tree coverage is not evenly distributed and a significant number of this year’s plantings will help alleviate the heat island effect that makes some areas of the city hotter than others. 

About 3,000 of the new trees were planted in the city’s heat-vulnerable neighborhoods, including the Bronx sections of Williamsbridge, Woodlawn, Eastchester, Edenwald, Soundview and Morris Park.

However, nearly every Bronx neighborhood has a Heat Vulnerability Index score of 4 or 5 — indicating the highest risks of deaths due to extreme heat. Approximately 370 New Yorkers die from heat each summer, according to the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice. 

But the new trees are a step towards creating a cooler city — and according to Parks, the push for new plantings has also resulted in more contracts for women- and minority-owned businesses. The agency said it has brought on eight new women or minority planting vendors since 2022. 

Residents interested in helping to care for the extra-thirsty new trees can “favorite” specific trees on the map and record each time they water, weed or otherwise care for them. The Parks Department also hosts stewardship events throughout the city.

Reach Emily Swanson at or (646) 717-0015. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes