TreesCharlotte: City needs to boost planting of trees

New initiative dedicated to planting trees across Charlotte
TreesCharlotte Takes Root to Save Our Canopy

Clt Business Journal

Posted: Jun 3, 2013, 9:49pm EDT

Susan Stabley, Charlotte Business Journal

Charlotte will need to plant 15,000 trees every year to meet its tree-canopy goals, barring blight or devastation from a major storm such as Hurricane Hugo.

That’s the word from Dave Cable, executive director for TreesCharlotte. Cable gave Charlotte City Council members an update Monday night on the city’s tree-canopy goal of 50% coverage by 2050.

And that’s 15,000 on top of the 10,000 trees planted every year by the city and volunteers.

TreesCharlotte is the public-private partnership working on achieving that goal, albeit slowly. In its first year, the nonprofit planted 4,056 trees.

TreesCharlotte raised $130,000 in its first year.

One of the big concerns for TreesCharlotte: insufficient public land to meet planting needs. Charlotte’s existing tree canopy is lush but, Cable warns, “geriatric.”

“It is an extraordinary asset for this city,” Cable says of Charlotte’s tree canopy.

Gina Shell, the city’s deputy director for engineering and property management, says the city has inventoried 145,000 of the the city’s 180,000 street trees.

The city planted 1,100 street trees in fiscal 2013 but also removed 300. About 5,000 were pruned and 6,000 banded for canker worms.

A survey by American Forests in 2008 showed the city had 46% coverage, tops among the nation’s 20 most populous cities.

Shell says the results of a new study measuring the number of trees covering the city should be out by late summer or early fall.