Announcing 2018's Great American Tree

The Lone Hill United Methodist Church National Champion Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), has planted its legacy with Georgia residents and within the hearts of American Grove members.

2018’s Great American Tree embodies the deep-rooted connectedness shared among families connected by Coffee County, Georgia. The Lone Hill United Methodist Church national champion tree is as strong as it is sturdy, lifting the spirits of those who have come into contact with its encompassing stature. A symbol of immortal admiration, our Great American Tree provides shade and comfort to those who need it most. Through years of unwavering support, this tree has become a consistent family member to Georgia residents. Our humbling giant is a product of community that embraces those who stop to exchange smiles and hugs beneath the branches. 

This year’s runner up is the noble Knight Oak of Tampa, Florida. This oak is thought to be one of the oldest living trees in the city. This tree honors the legacy of Peter O. Knight, a historic American military leader. This tree not only serves as an honor to the Knight family, but is also an honor to behold. This live oak is nothing short of magnificent. The gothic style tree stands proud and unwavering conveying a sense of strength throughout the years of its residency. However, the beauty does not take away from the surrounding grove members, but instead adds a sense of prestige and dignity to its immediate environment. The historical significance exemplifies a truly worthy specimen.

Third Place: There are many fascinating aspects to the biology of the Devil's Walking Stick. The sharp thorns found on the trunk, branches, and leaves, give the Devil's Walking Stick its common name. The spikes on the bark are used to fight off hungry herbivores. However, in metro Atlanta, this tree receives nothing but love and admiration! Although not inviting to the touch, it still welcomes those in search of summer shade and company. The Devil's Walking Stick resides in Decatur's Woodlands Garden. This native tree with giant compound leaves welcomes all visitors and pollinators.

Please click our Great American Tree tab to enjoy all the beautiful nominations we recieved in this year's competition.

Preparing Your Urban Forest For Storms

Storm preparation is a huge concern amongst all citizens and departments within a community, urban forestry is no different. When a storm event occurs trees and other woody debris are oftentimes one of the 1st things a community must deal with. Trees will fail and impact roadways, utility lines, street lights, intersections, homes, and people. Figure 1 indicates that trees will fail during storms. Being prepared will minimize negative impacts. 

Before power can be restored and primary responders can do their jobs, trees will need to be pruned, removed and cleaned up. While it is impossible to be completely “prepared” for a storm incident it is possible to be ready to react and minimize negative impacts from your trees.

Your urban forest is made up of both public and private trees and this resource is an important part of the community’s infrastructure.  Urban forests provide a host of environmental functions/services from avoiding stormwater runoff, reducing energy consumption, increasing property values, absorbing CO2, and improving the quality of life in a community. Unlike other components of a community’s infrastructure, trees and urban forests continue to appreciate in value as they age and get larger therefore increasing environmental functions/services.

Within a community, there are two types of trees - Assets and Liabilities. Trees that are assets are the right tree planted in the right place for the right reason and do not pose an unacceptable level of risk to the community. Trees that are liabilities do pose an unacceptable level of risk to the community and do not provide environmental function. Like any other piece of community infrastructure, trees need maintenance and upkeep. Part of that maintenance plan should be storm preparation.

Storms are going to happen and being prepared is a good idea. But what does it mean to prepare your urban forest? At the most basic level an urban forest that is prepared for a storm event will be more resilient. This will save you time and money as well as provide a higher level of service to your residents...

Read Josh's full article here.

Josh Behounek is an ISA Certified Arborist and a member of the Southern Illinois University Agricultural Leadership Board. He is a coordinator of urban forestry services with Davey Resource Group based in central Missouri. 

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