February 2013 Issue

Branching Out
support TUFC joindonate
facebook Like us on Facebook

Subscribe To Our Mailing List


Promoting healthy
and sustainable urban
and community forests
in Tennessee

TUFC adds Level 1, Level 4 arboreta

TUFC's list of certified arboreta has two new members: Marble Springs State Historic Site in Knoxville and the White House Arboretum in Middle Tennessee.

Marble Springs

A Level 1 arboretum, Marble Springs is the site of the last remaining home of John Sevier, Tennessee's first governor. Sevier lived on the 350-acre farm in the last years of his life. The White House Arboretum features more than 300 trees with over 130 species.

See a list of TUFC's arboreta here. You can zoom in and click on the map's trees for more information on each site.

Master Gardener

Master Gardener workshop is March 9

The third annual day-long workshop for master gardeners is March 9 in Clarksville.

Cost is $40, which includes lunch. Space is limited, and the registration deadline is March 6. Call 931/648-5725.

Master gardeners will share their knowledge on trees, soil, vegetables, flowers and gardening, pest control, and natural habitat gardening.

The workshop is in the Agricultural Extension Office, 1030A Cumberland Heights Road.

Ardmore Welcome Center

Dogwoods planted for Tennessee Groves program

State urban forester Brian Rucker and TUFC administrative assistant Jill Smith planted two dogwoods and iris bulbs at the Ardmore Welcome Center on I-65.

TUFC administers the the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Tennessee Groves memorial and honorarium landscape program at welcome centers in the state.

Southern live oak is SMA tree of the year

Southern live oak has been named the 2013 urban tree of the year by the Society of Municipal Arborists.

Southern Live Oak

This is the 17th year of the program, which selects trees that are adaptable to a variety of harsh growing conditions and have strong ornamental traits.

Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) is native to U.S. coastal regions from Virginia south to Florida and west to Texas. Its suitability for urban use comes from its salt tolerance, ability to tolerate both dry soils and seasonally wet ones, tolerance of soils both acidic and alkaline, ability to grow in part shade, wind resistance, and lack of major pests. Download article


Karla Kean

Karla Kean

Be an advocate

It’s 2013 and Tennessee Urban Forestry Council has hit the ground running! Are you ready to be an advocate for urban forestry in Tennessee? There are many things you can do in March as we celebrate Arbor Days! March 1 is Tennessee Arbor Day and April 26 is National Arbor Day. So, go out and plant a tree or read a good book like The Lorax in your community. We are planting the future today!

This past January we held our annual board retreat at Montgomery Bell Park in Burns. This is a time when new board members and one-year appointments go through orientation and get to know each other and what their roles are as part of the board. In the last few years I seen and felt the Council going through some “growing-pains” as we have learned to persevere without an executive director. I believe that is because we have a strong volunteer base who believes in the mission: Promoting healthy and sustainable urban and community forests which contribute to clean air and water, economic stability, and beautiful green places in which all Tennesseans and future generations will live, work and play. So, how do we accomplish the mission?

In 2013 I hope to see our Arboretum and Centers of Excellence program continue to grow. The Memphis Botanic Garden is the first Tennessee Urban Forestry Center of Excellence to be designated. Our annual conference and tree climb is a major educational outreach activity and has been one of our key fundraisers. The current conference committee is working on an exciting three days in Jackson this fall. However, we need to procure outside funds from major corporations and others who support our mission.

Plans are in the works to conduct a tree board workshop at the 2014 board retreat. Tree board members are an integral connection to the cities and towns so it is important to stay in contact and engage them to do urban forestry work in their communities. Our membership and marketing committees are working on various ways to build participation across the state and to get the word out as to what we are all about.

I think in a day and age where other councils are going under due to lack of federal funding that we need to give ourselves a huge pat on the back for keeping it together and striving to become self-sufficient. So, keep up the good work and, as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Crepe murder

Crepe ‘murder’ still a common practice

By Jon Nessle
Chattanooga Tree Commission

With all the information available today, a stubborn practice yet persists that causes real—and expensive—problems. Each year in late winter crepe myrtles are damaged by topping, wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There are better ways to spend money in the home landscape. Landscape plants are one of the few things you purchase for your home that increase in value over time—unless you damage them.

It’s been known for many years that the practice of topping trees is damaging, expensive, and can even kill trees. “But wait,” you say, “I see this done everywhere I look. Can all these landscape companies, lawn services and everyone else be wrong?”

YES! Even some state and county workers continue this practice, needlessly hacking limbs off trees on many state/county properties. It may be common, but this damages trees and is poor practice. Perhaps untrained employees are asked to do a task about which they know little. However, any private industry professional should never advise this dated and damaging technique. Homeowners in effect are subsidizing damage to their own private landscapes, and this occurs year after year after year.

Most property owners are not experts in good pruning techniques, nor are they expected to be. However, the people you hire to maintain your trees and plants should know. Tennessee is a “buyer beware” market for the landscape and tree care industries.

So, where do you begin?

(1) Start at your local nursery or garden center. Virtually every locally owned garden center is staffed with knowledgeable employees. If they don’t have the answer to your questions right away, they know where to find it.

(2) Next, hire only certified professionals. The International Society of Arboriculture certifies tree care professionals. People who earn certification usually want to put it to good use.

(3) Third, be a wise consumer. Companies that educate employees and carry all the right insurance have higher rates because they are complying with industry standards and the law. Remember, if you go cheap, you get cheap, and all too often a poor-quality job.

If you want to do it yourself, training is available. There’s a lot of information available and easy to find on the internet. Even if you don’t care at all about your trees, simply neglect them: by leaving them alone they will be better off than hacked to pieces. But, at the most basic, remember these rules:

1. Don’t top any tree; it’s harmful.

2. Prune to direct growth; remove limbs to elevate, cut away from buildings, etc.

3. Don’t leave stubs; trees don’t heal, they seal — stubs make it harder to do that.

They’re your plants. Whether directly or indirectly, you paid for them. Before hacking and injuring your assets, take a little time to educate yourself. Invest a little; save a lot. If you are paying a contractor who still does this, maybe it’s time to shop around.