Organizations and individuals have been planting trees in Nashville for many years, but this concentrated, citywide efforts was officially launched October 3, 2018. We have now completed our fourth planting season since the launch of the campaign, and as a city, tree planters have increased our planting numbers every 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.
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 such as residential neighborhoods, churches and places of worship, nonprofits, and businesses. We focus efforts within our impact areas and other neighborhoods that meet environmental justice principles.
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. Have you planted seedlings? Fill out your information on this linked form, and a member of the Root Nashville team will reach back out one year after your seedlings were planted to check on survivability and share information about how to log your tree.
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.
Root Nashville aims to restore and expand Nashville’s tree canopy and improve quality of life for all Nashvillians.
Through tree planting, 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.
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. The pending BL-2021-972 legislation through Metro will provide significant funding support for increasing canopy on private property specifically.
While just 6% of Nashville’s land is publicly owned, our local government (especially Metro Water Services, as Metro’s urban forestry hub) has significantly stepped up its tree-planting through the Root Nashville campaign.
The Cumberland River Compact leads the day-to-day operations of the campaign. The Compact was established as the Operational Partner through an MOU with Metro, and leads tree-planting efforts on private property especially. The Root Nashville Campaign Manager position is housed within the Cumberland River Compact, in addition to a field team who manages delivery during the planting season and our Tree Care Program during the summer.
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. This loss is due to development and growth, an aging tree canopy in general, tornadoes and other storms, and the emerald ash borer.
Protecting Nashville’s existing tree canopy is of primary importance and has a major impact on the priority outcomes for the Root Nashville campaign. The campaign itself is focused on canopy restoration of what has been lost, and is not specifically focused on tree removal or protection policies. But we always recommend reaching out to your councilmember to make sure they understand that Nashvillians value our trees.
The campaign is modeled on successful urban tree planting campaigns from other cities including the below:
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.
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