How do we pick our trees?

We often are asked at planting events and TreeStores: How does TreesCharlotte select its trees? Erin Oliverio, the City of Charlotte’s Tree Canopy Manager, reveals the secret formula:

  • First, we work off the City’s approved species list, which is made up of trees that thrive in an urban environment. That list has about 60 species.
  • We work with three N.C. nurseries – Panther Creek Nursery, Scottree Nursery and Worthington Farms – several years in advance to figure out which species and quantities they can provide. We meet again about six months before each planting season to get an update on the crops and finalize our shopping list.
  • Our trees are generally 2-4 years old and sized for 7-gallon containers.
  • When the growers deliver our trees (usually the day before or day of an event), TreesCharlotte and City staff inspect them for any obvious problems.
  • For our school plantings, we choose species that can handle tough conditions (little hands and feet, landscapers, etc). Frank Psaroudis, another City employee who works with TreesCharlotte, is in charge of stewarding school trees. TreesCharlotte contracts with two landscape companies to water school trees.
  • In reforestation projects, only native trees are planted.
  • For neighborhood plantings, residents are asked for their input on the types of trees they’d like. The most popular choices are small, flowering trees.
  • We check up on a sampling of our trees by sending our summer interns out to assess their health 1-2 years later.

A sampling of species

Large, maturing canopy trees

Red Maple (October Glory, Sun Valley, Brandywine)

River Birch

American Beech

Gingko

Persimmon

Blackgum

Oaks (White, Swamp, Nutall, Willow, Chestnut, etc.)

Elms

Evergreens

Cedars

Magnolia

Bald Cypress

Arborvitae

Smaller, understory

Redbuds (Eastern, Forest Pansy)

Fringetree

Dogwoods

Witch Hazel

Cherry (Chinese, Okame, etc.)

Styrax

 

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