Each year, Roanoke Parks and Recreation’s Urban Forestry department organizes Arbor Day celebrations. Arbor Day is a national holiday created to recognize the importance of trees and encourage tree plantings, held annually on the last Friday in April. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day.
Urban Forestry Supervisor, Samantha Matson was joined by a group of volunteer Tree Stewards in celebrating Arbor Day 2022 with a tree planting in Highland Park. “As the saying goes, ‘The best day to plant a tree is yesterday. The second best day is today!’” said Matson as she prepared the group for planting. The crew successfully planted eight Princeton elm trees along a walkway in the north section of the park.
Princeton elm trees are a cultivar of American elm trees, the most popular trees planted in the 19th century, used to line city streets. However, American elms are susceptible to Dutch elm disease, so Princeton elm’s were selected for this planting, as they are resistant. Over time, the trees will grow over forty feet high, providing shade and attractive fall foliage to this section of the park.
Roanoke’s Urban Forestry Department
Unlike many cities its size, Roanoke is home to 158 types of trees that span more than 13,146 acres of tree canopy. Roanoke earned the Tree City USA designation as a result of its commitment to and care of its trees. Roanoke Parks and Recreation’s Urban Forestry team provides regular maintenance based on staff observations or by citizen request.
To learn more about the Urban Forestry Department, report a tree concern, or plant a tree, please click here.
Volunteer Tree Stewards
To help protect the local tree ecosystem, Roanoke Parks and Recreation’s Urban Forestry division offers volunteer Tree Stewards training each year.
Tree Stewards help care for young trees on city-owned property. The 26-hour training begins with nine classes held on Monday nights. Once the in-class training is complete, volunteers attend three field sessions held on Saturday mornings during the spring. The in-field training focuses on tree planting, pruning, and tree identification. Once qualified, Roanoke Tree Stewards complete a minimum of 30 hours of work during their first year and 20 hours in subsequent years. Volunteers may also give educational presentations to adults and children.
For more information, please contact William West, Urban Forestry Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 540-853-1994.