Root Nashville is a public-private partnership led by the Cumberland River Compact and Metro Nashville, with support from the Mayor’s Office. Root Nashville will plant 500,000 trees in Davidson County by 2050.
The official launch of the campaign was October 3, 2018, with the initial goal of planting our first 5,000 trees by Earth Day 2019. We achieved that first milestone on target, and are poised to achieve the 10,000 marker by the end of the spring 2020 planting season.
Trees provide clean air and water, cooler neighborhoods, safe and prosperous communities, and they improve our health and well-being. Cities around the world are focusing anew on their tree canopy. As healthy, resilient cities like Nashville make room for trees they will, in turn, reap the benefits.
The Nashville region is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth—with a 45% increase in its population between 2000 and 2017. Between 2008 and 2016, Nashville’s tree canopy in urban zones has fallen by 15% and is behind many comparable cities across the country. While Metro currently invests more than $2 million annually for tree planting and maintenance, it’s not enough to keep pace with the changes we are experiencing.
Working with support from the Mayor’s Office, the Cumberland River Compact and Metro Water Services will manage the Root Nashville campaign. Metro will be responsible for planting and caring for trees on Metro properties, such as parks and schools, with support from the campaign in targeted areas. The Cumberland River Compact will work with a variety of partners to plant and increase care of trees on private property.
Trees will be planted in every community in Nashville in a variety of spaces that can accommodate them. These include parks, public buildings, sidewalks, along the public right of way, and private properties. We will target early planting in areas with lower canopy cover, higher rates of childhood asthma, higher than average summer temperatures, and streams with impaired water quality.
Trees will count towards our goal if they meet the campaign requirements and are logged in the tree inventory or registered by private entities on the campaign website.
All trees planted must be at least 1″-caliper, meaning that the trunks are about 1″ in diameter at about shoulder height. Downward adjustments can be made for understory and ornamental species. Seedlings that survive one growing season and are registered after that time will also count towards the goal. On newly developed properties, the campaign will only count net trees (above the Metro required TDU) that meet campaign standards.
Root Nashville uses an online mapping tool called TreePlotter to track our progress. As we plant trees across Davidson County, we will register each tree and place a point on the map on our website. Individuals or groups who want new trees they plant to be counted can register their trees on the Root Nashville website.
To achieve our goal, we need the help of all Nashvillians.
- Plant a tree in your yard or on your property and register it on our website
- Adopt a tree and help maintain it
- Volunteer to plant trees at a Root Nashville event
- Donate funds or in-kind resources to the campaign
- Protect trees on your property and neighborhood from development
- Help identify Nashville locations in need of trees
- Learn correct tree planting and watering techniques
- Learn the best time of year to plant trees
- Learn which native tree species to plant to have the best chance of survival
It is difficult to estimate based on the mapping we have, but the Tennessee Division of Forestry estimates that over the last eight years, we have lost an average of 9,000 trees per year, 72,000 total.
Protecting Nashville’s existing tree canopy is of primary importance and has a major impact on the priority outcomes for the Root Nashville campaign. While the campaign itself is not specifically focused on tree removal, Metro Nashville is in the process of implementing Executive Order 40, which will address many of the challenges that have led to tree loss over the last decade
Root Nashville aims to restore and expand Nashville’s tree canopy and improve quality of life for all Nashvillians.
In addition, the campaign is focused on:
- Increasing the number of trees and the size of the tree canopy across all of Nashville’s neighborhoods.
- Creating a more equitable distribution of trees throughout the county
- Helping mitigate the impacts of child asthma
- Reducing high heat areas within the city
- Improving water quality
- Minimizing the loss of trees from invasive insects like the Emerald Ash Borer.
- Increasing the number of Nashvillians involved in planting and caring for our trees.
The campaign is modeled on successful urban tree planting campaigns from other cities including the below:
Metro Nashville currently invests more than $2 million annually to grow and maintain Nashville’s tree canopy, including trees on Metro properties and in the right of way. It is committed to planting thousands of trees each year as part of the Root Nashville campaign.
Cumberland River Compact will run the day-to-day operations of the campaign. CRC was established as the Operational Partner through an MOU with Metro.
The advisory board is comprised of leading Nashville organizations in the fields of environmental sustainability, health, and community engagement. With a developed expertise, these organizations will contribute abundant knowledge and best practices to advise on and help steer the campaign. U.S. Senator Bill Frist, M.D. and NashvilleHealth chair the advisory board.