How a City Becomes a “Tree City USA”


Palm Trees are Trees, too!

Palm Trees are Trees, too!

The Arbor Day Foundation, partnering with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, developed the Tree City USA designation. This program aides the communities with knowledge, advertising, and recognition. Municipalities benefit in a number of ways. Tree City USA helps towns get a plan of action together, along with the education necessary to implement the job. Sometimes financial assistance is available. Having the designation will often help home values increase. Finally, the public image of a city is of quality, and citizens will have a sense of pride in their community.

Becoming a Tree City USA has four parameters: A tree department, tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with budget, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

A tree department or board should partially consist of a professional foresters or arborists. The balance of the board should consist of concerned citizens.

A tree ordinance will give the tree department the power to designate the working plan for the community. This will set the policies and guidance for planting, maintaining, and removing trees. This needs to be in writing as this policy may be backed by the law if necessary.

A budget of $2 per capita is needed for the designation. Most towns already have this figured into its budget, but if not, it must be addressed. This budget will be part of the plan after an evaluation of diversity, problem trees, insect disease issues, and care is completed.

The most enjoyable requirement of a Tree City USA designation is the Arbor Day celebration. Publicity, feelings of community, and appreciation of trees are just a few of the benefits.

There are 187 communities in Illinois that have the Tree City USA designation and growing…

The job market for urban foresters has increased because of the Tree City designation, as there is a requirement for a licensed professional to be on the tree board.

Happy Arbor Day everyone!

© Ilex Farrell

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