Canopy Restoration in Progress: One Year Later and 4,300+ Trees Replanted

One year since the March 2020 tornado that devastated Nashville, significant progress has been made towards restoring tree canopy in the neighborhoods of North Nashville, East Nashville, and Donelson/Hermitage.

Over 4,300 trees have been planted in these tornado-affected neighborhoods, thanks to the combined efforts of tree-planting organizations the Cumberland River Compact, the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps, and the Nashville Tree Foundation. All these planting projects count towards the citywide Root Nashville tree-planting campaign to plant 500,000 trees by 2050, with the 875 container giveaway trees counting towards the goal after surviving their first year.

“Our beautiful city was hit hard by the 2020 tornado, but we are fortunate to have such strong partners working to restore the beauty of our tree canopy,” said Mayor Cooper. “We are proud of all the planting partners in the Root Nashville campaign. The work to rebuild and replant is just beginning, but off to a tremendous start.”

Replanting efforts have taken place in parks, schools, churches, and in front and backyards within neighborhoods. Affected Nashvillians have stepped up in a huge way to support replanting, even at residences where trees damaged homes.

North Nashville resident Judy Thompson, who lost a large tree in the tornado, with planting volunteer

“The March 3rd tornado blew over a tree in my backyard,” said North Nashville resident Judy Thompson. “That tree took out my car, my daughter’s car, and hit the rear of my home. I wanted a new tree because I loved sitting on my deck watching the birds and squirrels playing in it. I was so happy to get a new tree!” It is difficult to determine just how many trees were lost in the tornado, but some experts estimate that it was in the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands. This first planting season was just the beginning of efforts to replace trees like Judy’s in the Hope Gardens neighborhood.

For some, they didn’t realize quite what they had before it was lost.

“I never realized one could mourn trees,” said Donelson resident Sharon Doss, of the Stanford Estates neighborhood. “My home of 30+ years was surrounded by 30- and 40-foot trees on two sides. I couldn’t see anyone around me and no one could see me. I lost my privacy, and now I’m living in a fish bowl. The tornado chewed a path of brick homes, a school, cars, garages and 150-to200-plus-year old trees. A portion of my neighborhood was wiped out. Gone!”

Donelson resident and Neighborhood Planting Captain for Stanford Estates Sharon Doss, back row and second front left, with neighbors and planting volunteers

Sharon decided to take action by signing up as a Root Nashville Neighborhood Planting Captain for her neighborhood. “When I heard about Root Nashville’s plan to replant trees, I knew I had to be part of it. I joined in as a tree captain. Dozens of volunteers, along with homeowners, dug holes and planted over 150 trees in Stanford Estates,” said Sharon. “Just a few days after my new trees were planted, I watched a robin land and sit on my new tree a while. It’ll be a long time until we see these new trees reach their maturity, but now we have a hopeful start.”

Through combined efforts, replanting took place at many locations and neighborhoods:

Cumberland River Compact

  • TSU campus, North Nashville
  • Elizabeth Park neighborhood, North Nashville
  • Salemtown and Hope Gardens neighborhoods, North Nashville
  • Edgefield, East End, and Lockeland Springs neighborhoods in East Nashville
  • Barclay Drive and Rosebank neighborhoods in East Nashville
  • Donelson Hills, Maplecrest, and Lincoya Hills neighborhoods in Donelson
  • Stanford Estates/River’s Edge neighborhoods in Donelson

Nashville Tree Conservation Corps

  • Lockeland Springs Park, East Nashville
  • Shelby Park, East Nashville
  • Lockeland Springs Baptist Church Community Grove, East Nashville
  • Shelby Avenue Arboretum, East Nashville
  • Farm-to-Yard Tree Sale, all affected neighborhoods
  • Operation Overstory, all affected neighborhoods

Nashville Tree Foundation

  • Robert Churchwell Elementary, North Nashville
  • Monroe St. and Arthur Ave. in the public right-of-way, North Nashville
  • Kroger, North Nashville
  • Fisk Park and Fisk University, North Nashville
  • 37208 neighborhoods, North Nashville
  • Morgan Park and Assumption Church, Germantown
  • Miegs Middle School, East Nashville
  • Frederick Douglas Headstart and Frederick Douglas Park, East Nashville
  • Lockeland Springs and Shelby Park, East Nashville
  • Donelson Christian Academy
  • Two Rivers Mansion
  • McGavock High School
  • TN School for the Blind
General replanting locations within first season after tornado

Want to get involved with efforts next planting season? Follow the Root Nashville campaign, the Cumberland River Compact, the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps, and the Nashville Tree Foundation. Free seedlings are also available to Davidson County residents each year through Tennessee Tree Day, led by the Tennessee Environmental Council.

Interested in a replacement tree (or several) for your own yard?

  • Private property planting events will also take place again starting October 2021 through Root Nashville’s Neighborhood Planting Captain. Send a message to hello@rootnashville.org to get placed on the waitlist.
  • Check out the Operation Overstory opportunity through the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps and the Farm-to-Yard Tree Sale.
  • Learn more about Nashville Tree Foundation’s ReLeaf campaign.

Share this post with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Sign up for our newsletter

Be the first to find out about events and volunteer opportunities!