One thing the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has shown us is that we need to have a better mix of tree species that make up the tree canopy in the city. In three years' time, more than 1,300 trees will have been removed, significantly reducing the tree canopy in our city. Public Works staff has a plan, to formalize that plan we recently received a 2020 Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Grant to help create an Urban Forest Management Plan as well as a cost-share grant aimed at helping purchase additional trees to replace ones that have been lost.
Even with COVID-19 canceling our spring 2020 Arbor Day activities, city staff, and volunteers have been planting trees to offset the loss of so many due to the emerald ash borer. We did not let Arbor Day go by uncelebrated, the 2020 Arbor Day saw city staff plant 24 trees in Westover Park, replacing some of the ash trees that have been removed. In June of 2020 Eagle Scout, Kevin Matthew of BSA Troop 48 planted 50 trees in Westover Park for his Westover Eagle Scout Tree Planting Project. On October 24, 2020, the “Arbor Day *Revisited* Tree Planting” volunteer event held at the Northend Greenway planted an additional 50 trees, and on April 10th volunteers will plant 50 more trees along another area of the Northend Greenway.
More than 300 trees were planted in the City in 2020. We encourage our citizens to also plant trees. We regularly organize Community Tree Plantings. If you, or a group you are a part of, are interested you can sign up online. The online registration also includes the volunteer waiver form [60KB] that is required to be signed by all volunteers. We are here to help if you have questions. The Harrisonburg Conservation Assistance Program (HCAP) can also help fund tree plantings of 10 or more on private residential property.
What can I do to help? Plant some trees! Trees are good for our community and our environment. You can plant pretty much anytime, but the best time to plant trees is in the Fall.
Here is a list of native tree species we recommend and the conditions in which they grow best:
Learn more about the Urban Forestry Program