Six New Heritage Trees Are Designated by City Council
When the City of Hendersonville established its Heritage Tree program in 1990, eight trees were soon so designated in various neighborhoods around town. During the next decade, a few more applications dribbled in. Recently, however, six new Heritage Trees were approved by City Council, and another is under consideration, after applications were made by property owners where the trees are located. Most of the recently designated Heritage Trees are near or on Kanuga Street on properties with older or historically significant homes. The Hendersonville Tree Board is the agency through which the applications are screened.
“These trees are noteworthy in various ways,” said Mark Madsen, a member of the Tree Board who is currently updating the criteria for the City’s Heritage Tree designation. Last month, Madsen led a guided winter tree walk along Third and Fourth Avenues in Hendersonville’s West Side Historic District neighborhood where three registered Heritage Trees were highlighted. The combined ages of those three trees is estimated at well over 200 years.
A rating system is being fine-tuned to grade future applications for Heritage Tree status, which will include ratings for type of species, size of the tree, condition, and location.
“Large, mature, shapely trees give wonderful character to our historic neighborhoods and to our quality of life,” Madsen said. “They sometimes provide important habitat for wildlife, and they often have significant historic value to the community. Hundreds of people a day drive along downtown avenues and streets on their way to somewhere else. We rarely have a chance to really look at and appreciate the special beauty of these wonderful trees.”
But property owners who do the paperwork to designate their trees as Heritage quality are quite aware of how special those trees are. White oaks are among our oldest and largest designated trees, but also with Heritage status are sycamores, Eastern hemlocks, and a handsome yellow buckeye at historic Hendersonville High School. A Southern red oak, recently designated, is adjacent to a historic home designed by architect Erle Stillwell and measures 47 inches in diameter. It once shaded an azalea garden that was open to the public from the 1930s to ‘50s. A healthy Norway spruce with new Heritage status is 30 inches in diameter and 80 feet tall, providing quite a majestic look along a busy thoroughfare.
Numerous cities in the U.S., Canada, and around the world have similar Heritage Tree programs. In 2016, the Village of Flat Rock initiated its own program based largely on the criteria and methods of the Hendersonville program. Designation of a Heritage Tree is voluntary by the property owner, applications are submitted and then screened through the City’s Tree Board, and successful applications are then submitted for approval by Hendersonville City Council. A marker is installed by the City near the Heritage Tree.
On March 20, a special program – For the Love of Trees: How to Create a Garden in the Shade -- will celebrate trees and provide advice on shade gardening. The program will be at Hendersonville Public Library auditorium, 6 p.m., sponsored by Hendersonville Tree Board.
Hendersonville Tree Board is commissioned by the City of Hendersonville to provide advice on the selection and care of trees and shrubs in public places. The Tree Board also educates the public concerning the economic and aesthetic benefits of trees and shrubs for the community. The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Hendersonville as a Tree City USA for 25 years because of its high level of tree care.
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Second Half of 2017 – Tree Board Volunteers Helped Increase Our Urban Forest and Provided New Information
November 16 -- Another American chestnut tree was planted at Bruce Drysdale Elementary, carefully and enthusiastically by fifth graders chosen to help with the chore. Wes Burlingame, a nurseryman and member of Hendersonville Tree Board, and Ben Jarrett, southeast regional science coordinator for American Chestnut Foundation, supervised. The two-foot high sapling was provided by the Tree Board and the American Chestnut Foundation. Bruce Drysdale Principal BJ Laughter said he is pleased to add yet another chestnut tree to the grove on school property. Already, three American chestnut trees grow well and strong on the campus of the school in downtown Hendersonville.
“The students at Bruce Drysdale are educated about the value of trees and we use our campus as an outdoor classroom for environmental studies and experiential learning,” he said. “We are thrilled to work with the Tree Board and the American Chestnut Foundation as their constant research hopes to bring back the grand trees that once thrived here in the mountains.”
Outstanding Volunteer Effort in 2017 – All tolled, 387 volunteer hours were donated during the year by community members working on and supporting projects of the Hendersonville Tree Board. And the financial value of this work? According to Independent Sector, a coalition of charities, foundations, corporations, and individuals that publishes research important to the nonprofit sector, the value of volunteer hours in 2017 is $24.14/hr. This adds up to a financial value of $9,342.18 on Tree Board projects.
October 28 -- Homeowners in Druid Hills Historic District who signed up for the NeighborWoods Project received 29 free trees, which they planted at their homes. These residents agreed to plant, maintain, and care for the trees so they will thrive and increase the urban-forest tree cover in the City. A demonstration was given on that day to show participants how to properly dig the soil, amend it, and plant the new trees to increase the chances of success.
“I am happy that my neighbors are interested and willing to commit to this program,” said Sereta Brackett, a long-time Druid Hills resident who helped organize the program in her neighborhood. “This is an older neighborhood, and it’s a good idea to add new trees to fill in where old ones have been lost.”
Nearly 200 trees have been planted in Hendersonville through the NeighborWoods program since 2010, including projects in Hyman Heights Historic Neighborhood where 35 new trees have been added to the numerous “historic” trees in the neighborhood; Hendersonville Community Co-op where more than 14 trees and numerous pollinator plants and shrubs were installed to enhance the storm water wetland behind the new storefront; 84 American dogwoods installed on properties along Fifth Avenue West, creating a beautiful springtime display; Regal Oaks affordable-housing project for senior citizens, where at least 10 fig and cherry trees were planted; and a project in Green Meadows which included fruit and nut trees.
The NeighborWoods Tree Fund has been created at Community Foundation of Henderson County to accept donations, which will keep the tree-planting program growing. Money received will be used by Hendersonville Tree Board to purchase trees for residents to plant in yards, at businesses, in neighborhood green spaces, and where needed. The Tree Board’s program aims to assist residents to plant and maintain trees for health, beauty, wildlife, and to increase our urban forest coverage.
October 14 -- Six trees were planted in Keith Park, in the heart of Druid Hills neighborhood, to enhance the majestic older trees there. Among the trees to be added to the homes and landscape are American dogwood, white oak, redbud, sourwood, serviceberry, and sweet bay magnolia.
September 23 -- We experienced heavy rains of flash-flood proportions in 2017. Landowners and landscapers picked up some great tips and information at a program at Hendersonville Community Co-op sponsored by the Tree Board. Speakers for “Reduce and Control Your Storm Water Problems With Landscaped Trees and Plants” were Michael Huffman, Storm Water Quality Specialist with the City of Hendersonville, and Wes Burlingame, designer of the enhanced landscape at Hendersonville Community Co-op. The program was open to the public at no charge.
Through an informative PowerPoint presentation, Huffman provided general storm water information for homeowners and showed how to implement practices at home that are similar to those used in the creative landscaping at the Co-op. Tree Board member Wes Burlingame then led a guided stroll through the landscaped bio-retention area on Co-op property. Attendees saw first-hand how plants and trees work to help control and filter storm water, provide beauty, and support a variety of pollinators.
Six Heritage Tree Designations Accepted – Especially along Kanuga Street, where plans to widen the roadway caused concern in 2017 for landowners and those interested in historic preservation, the City’s Heritage Tree Designation helped show respect and care for mature and significant trees in the urban landscape. Several property owners applied during the year to designate six trees of significant value and those applications were accepted by City Council. Currently 14 trees are so designated, the first three in 1990, when the program began. The Tree Board oversees the Heritage Tree program. More information is available on the Tree Board website.
The Hendersonville Tree Board is a volunteer committee appointed by Hendersonville City Council. Its mission is to improve and maintain our urban forest, to educate citizens about trees and their economic and aesthetic importance, and to help implement the requirements of a registered Tree City USA.