Charlotte’s successful tree canopy plan mobile workshop

Look up! When you visit Charlotte, for this year’s NLC City Summit, you’ll likely see a lush tree. Charlotteans are proud of their trees and it shows. You’ll see many trees and learn more about Charlotte’s approach to trees as part of the “Rooted: Explore our city in a forest mobile workshop.

City Arborist Tim Porter and others will lead you through how the city continues to grow its tree canopy. Porter, the main voice for the city’s tree canopy, manages a team that maintains nearly 180,000 street trees in the right of way and thousands more on city properties. His team is responsible for care, preservation and advocacy of the city’s public trees. This includes trimming and removing trees, issuing permits and ensuring the Tree Ordinance is followed.

“The Charlotte Community continues to place a high value on trees,” said Tim. “Trees have always been considered important throughout Charlotte’s history by all stakeholders from politicians to business owners to community leaders and residents.”

City of Charlotte Arborist Tim Porter

City staff with the right expertise and years of experience

Charlotte is dedicated to its trees and employs several strategies to keep it that way. One approach is through maintaining trees on public property. The city’s tree ordinance, tree commission and city arborist have been in place since the late 1970s. Now there are more than 30 International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborists on staff. The city’s Landscape Management and Urban Forestry groups are housed within the city’s Engineering and Property Management Department and both groups work closely on a daily basis with engineers, construction managers, stormwater professionals and planners to protect and plant trees.

Preserve vegetation and create sustainable communities for decades

Trees are also deeply rooted in policy. For decades the city has integrated tree protection and planting into its regulatory, capital project and general operations-based policies. In 2011, Charlotte City Council adopted a goal to grow the tree canopy coverage to 50 percent by 2050.

Additionally, the city maintains a public/private partnership with TreesCharlotte, an organization that works to help achieve the tree canopy goal by planting trees and educating people about trees. City of Charlotte recently led an effort in partnership with TreesCharlotte, to develop an Urban Forest Master Plan that serves as a community playbook to guide all efforts of tree planting and preservation. This effort included community outreach to define the needs and desires of community members and a future outlook of the tree canopy.

TreesCharlotte Planting site at Garinger High School

Get new ideas from Charlotte to take home

During the Rooted: Explore our City in a Forest mobile workshop, tour you will see diverse examples of how the Charlotte community values, protects and plants trees. Explore the TreesCharlotte community planting sites, the Tryon Street Mall area, commercially-developed properties that exhibit key tree ordinance objectives and key tree canopy areas ranging from traditional forest settings to more urban pocket-park sites. Tour stops will range from highly designed/engineered developed sites to undeveloped conservation areas with mature forests and ponds.

The tour will have a short Uptown Charlotte walking component and bus transportation to various stops. Speakers include city arborists, engineers, executives, landscape architects and executive-level staff from TreesCharlotte.

If you’re not convinced to sign up for this tour yet, Porter says, “It’s a great time of the year to be outside in Charlotte and experience nature and the amazing tree canopy that has allowed Charlotte to attain the Arbor Day Foundations’ Tree City USA designation for 37 consecutive years.”

Here are some highlights on the tour:

  1. Tree Canopy Preservation Program conservation area: See a site that has been purchased by the city for the sole purpose of saving trees. These purchases are funded by mitigation payments made by developers who cannot meet tree-save requirements within their development sites. Visit the city’s website for more information.
  2. Uptown tree walking tour: Learn about the forward-looking plan to have tree-lined uptown streets. Sidewalks were specially engineered to accommodate tree roots using a cutting edge suspended sidewalk technique.
  3. TreesCharlotte planting site: Hear the story of the public/private collaborative that Charlotte has created and see some of the sites where volunteers and the community have come together to plant trees on public or private property.

Uptown City Trees on North Tryon Street

We hope to see you in Charlotte’s forest! See the other mobile workshops offered on Wednesday, November 15 and Thursday, November 16 and sign up now!