A greener city: Salisbury arborist shares community involvement to plant trees

Published 12:10 am Friday, July 29, 2022

SALISBURY —  Sometimes, the Post gets an Ask Us question that has such an interesting answer, it turns into a story. When the newsroom received a question regarding tree planting in the community — does the city plant trees and can residents donate trees for planting — the answer seemed well worth sharing.

To begin with, the city has a Tree Board that, according to the website, “advocates the planting, preservation and planting of trees on public rights-of-way and public properties.” Even better, the city has a certified arborist.

According to that arborist, Stephen Brown, citizen requests for tree planting can be put into action.

Last year, the tree board installed 279 trees within the city limits. A majority of trees are planted in the fall due to a higher rate of survivability because of dormancy. Brown said that team is considering projects for the coming year, and will set a schedule once the projects are selected. He noted there have been no community requests to plant a tree since 2021.

That means no trees have been installed this year as of July. However, trees have been lost. The summer storms that have passed over Rowan County have required 16 trees to be removed since June.

The board meets once a month on the third Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m. by Zoom, and each week the board also meets with public works to discuss possible planting locations. Community members, in addition to being able to donate trees for planting, can also also request that a tree be planted in the public right-of-way with the approval of public works. Individuals can expect two weeks to hear back if their right-of-way request is approved.

If people want a tree planted on their private property, Brown suggests that the individual go to a local nursery or garden center to find advice on the best tree for the location in mind.

“Take pictures of the site when you go,” he said. “This will aid in picking the right tree. ”

Other guidelines on planting trees include keeping large shade trees away from power lines, opting instead for an ornamental tree. It is also important to take note of the sun, shade and size of the area to determine the best fit. Internet and television cables, water and sewer that run underground can also determine what and where to plant. Brown said that it is better to plant behind the right-of-way to prevent any water line damage or disrupting utilities.

The tree board recommends planting trees between the end of October and mid-February for the best survivability. The city also accepts tree planting donations. Many of these are planted in Salisbury’s parks and are typically installed as memorials per the request of the donor. Determining the cost of greenery can be difficult as it is dependent on the buyer’s budget and what the current price is by a given nursery. Brown said that those numbers usually change year to year.

Trees can be planted either in a biodegradable container or a ball wrapped in burlap that needs to be pinned with nails. Depending on the material buried, the time varies as to how long it will take the pouch of burlap to decay.

Brown also said that the city’s tree board believes in planting trees to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

“They can also control the amount of energy your business or home uses,” he said.

For more information, contact Brown at 704-638-4481.