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The Georgia Urban Forest Council (GUFC) will meet on May 22 at Zoo Atlanta for an educational program on “The Urban Forests of Utility Corridors.” Georgia EMCs and utility companies are invited!

Thousands of acres of power line rights-of-way offer opportunities to implement meaningful conservation activities. GUFC’s second quarterly educational program will be held on May 22, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Ford Room at Zoo Atlanta and is sponsored by the Georgia Power Company, Northwest Region.  We’ll hear from Georgia Power foresters and arborists about their recycled vegetation use for zoo animals as well as biology and species protection projects such as their butterfly project
and their mapping of gopher tortoise burrows in transmission corridors. A top priority at Georgia Power is to remain compliant with all applicable regulations, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and The Clean Water Act.

The program includes a panel discussion about cultivating relationships; cooperative efforts between municipalities, nonprofits, and utilities (Savannah case study); and dealing with conflict. We’ll also learn about the Energy Saving Trees program, participated in by utility companies and EMCs. Speakers: Mark Wachter, Kym Stephens, Bill Haws, and Jim Ozier of the Georgia Power Company and Robert Seamans, City of Statesboro. See agenda here

Tickets: $40 GUFC member, $55 non-member. Lunch is included. The non-member ticket includes a one-year complimentary individual membership in the Georgia Urban Forest Council.

A limited number of scholarships are available for utility vegetation managers and staff. Download application form here. Scholarship application deadline is May 10 or until class has filled. This scholarship funding is being provided by the Georgia Forestry Commission through a grant from the U.S. Forest Service.

The first 75 people to register receive a free ticket to tour the zoo! CEUs: ISA certified arborist: 3.75, Municipal Specialist: 3.75, BCMA – Management: 3.75. SAF Forestry credits have been applied for. A professional development certificate will be available for landscape architects and others.

Scholarships Available to Georgia Utility Company Staff to attend 2019 Trees & Utilities Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio September 10-12, 2019

Georgia Power is a Tree Line USA
  • Reimbursement of $1,000 toward registration, lodging and airfare for Georgia utility company representatives to attend the 2019 Trees & Utilities National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Conference presented by the Utility Arborist Association and the Arbor Day Foundation.
  • Conference dates are September 10-12, 2019.
  • Application deadline: June 30, 2019.
  • Scholarship amount reimburses for conference tuition, lodging, and airfare expenses up to $1,000.
  • Open to Georgia utility company staff.
  • Conference registration must be paid for in advance. If scholarship is awarded, tuition/lodging/airfare expenses will be reimbursed up to $1000 after GUFC receives copies of expense receipts.
  • Application can be downloaded here.
  • Applications should be e-mailed to marylynne@gufc.org (Mary Lynne Beckley, Executive Director, Georgia Urban Forest Council)
  • Applicants will be notified ASAP.
  • Questions? Call Mary Lynne Beckley at 470-210-5900.


Throughout the state, we have celebrated Arbor Day in many different ways. Take a look at the official State of Georgia Arbor Day proclamation by Governor Brian Kemp and celebration photos from the past two weeks.

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Check out our latest newsletter! Community Tree News – February 2019

Community Tree News - February 2019

Go live this Christmas!

christmas tree photoThe Christmas countdown is on, and if you’re planning to put up a tree, the time is now! Statistics show more Americans choose real trees over artificial trees, and in Georgia, there’s a wide variety of choose-and-cut and pre-cut trees from which to choose. Find a grower easily on the Georgia Forestry Commission’s GA Christmas tree Directory.

Here are some things to think about as you make your decision:

  • Real trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins such as lead.
  • Supporting local growers is good for the economy.
  • Leyland Cypress, white pine and Virginia pine are among the most popular Christmas tree varieties grown in Georgia.
  • Choose a symmetrical tree with a straight main stem for optimal stability.
  • Cut one to two inches off the bottom of a pre-cut or choose-and-cut tree to enhance water intake.
  • For live balled-in-burlap or potted trees that can be planted later, always keep the root ball moist.
  • Limit the tree’s time in the house and transplant by March.
  • Read Tree planting guidelines from the Georgia Forestry Commission.

When the holiday season is over, cut trees should be recycled. Keep Georgia Beautiful and its partners sponsor the “Bring One for the Chipper” program, which produces mulch for playgrounds, local government beautification projects, and individual yards. Learn more here: Keep Georgia Beautiful.

Merry Christmas!

Join us December 13, 2018 from 9 a.m to 12:30 p.m. at the  Monastery of the Holy Spirit. There will be speakers and demonstrations by the Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Firewise Community. This event is free to the public. Light breakfast and refreshments will be provided. Please register by calling: 470-538-0093. The prescribed burn demonstration will occur weather permitting.

Peak week has come and gone but there is still color hanging on and even new color emerging.

Elevations above about 2300 feet have seen much of the canopy drop their leaves.  However, above these elevations the oaks are just now beginning to shine with shades of rusty reds and deep burgundies dotting the upper mountain slopes with others showing some golden yellows.

Elevations below 2300 feet are still seeing trees holding leaves with the yellows, golds, and bronze shades dominating the forest canopies and understory.

This week the majority of overstory yellow poplar have bared their branches but there are still hangers on to provide support of the golden hues along with hickory, birch, and this week the American beech has kicked it up a notch with yellow greens, bright yellows and buckskin tones.  Maples are also heavy on the yellows right now but with many tinging to orange adding to the overall golden/bronze theme.

This does not mean that reds are not present with other maples still showing reds,

as well as occasional sourwood, sumac and as mentioned, the late changing oaks.

Percentage of color change from green to date: 80-100% overall with elevations above about 2300 feet seeing much of the canopy dropping.

We are past peak but there is still some good color to see.  Many leaves are currently falling but there should still be some good color to experience on what appears to be shaping up as a beautiful weekend in north Georgia.

The consecutive days of rain likely helped bring down a few more leaves but did not significantly impact this week.

Most any drive through north Georgia should provide some good viewing of late season color understanding that the highest elevations are well past peak and rapidly dropping what canopy is left.

Many of the drives we discussed earlier this season still hold opportunity including the “gap” drives to include US 76 between Clayton and Hiawassee over Jacks Creek Gap, GA 17/75 between Helen and Hiawassee over Unicoi Gap, US 129 between Cleveland and Blairsville over Neel Gap, GA 60 between Dahlonega and Blue Ridge over Woody Gap, and the Richard Russell Scenic Hwy over Hog Pen Gap.

Additionally GA 53 between Dawsonville and Jasper, GA 52 between Ellijay and Chatsworth, US 441 to Tallulah Gorge, GA 197 driving north from Clarkesville and GA 356 past Unicoi State Park.

Northwest Georgia

Rain and wind from recent storms have accelerated color change and leaf fall. Peak passed over the weekend, with color change from green now more than 65%. Red oak, white oak, and chestnut oak are showing small amounts of yellow and brown before dropping their leaves. Deep red colors previously shown by sourwood, maple, and sassafrass have shifted to yellow and orange, while attached leaves are becoming sparse. Yellow poplar, sycamore, sweetgum, and hickory are changing from deep yellows to light browns. Areas in the higher elevations have already peaked and are dropping leaves rapidly, with lower areas close behind.

Scenic drive:

Take Hwy 136 from I-75. Turn left on Hwy 157 on top of Mookout mountain. Turn left on Daughtery Gap Rd to come out in front of Mountain Cove Farms. Turn right on Hog Jawl Rd. Turn right on Hwy 193 and follow back into Lafayette.  Turn right on South Main Street. Turn left on Hwy 27 Bypass and follow to the next intersection to get back on Hwy 136.

Northeast/Central GA Specific (Blue Ridge Mtns):

This past week saw the arrival of the peak leaf season in northeast Georgia with color developing throughout the region. However, peak this year is looking a little different from some years with a majority of the color being more muted but there’s still a lot to see, including terrific examples of neon reds and fluorescent yellow golds.

This week the birch trees continue to put on a show with their yellows becoming more golden; yellow poplar continues to contribute, but most of these are rapidly losing their leaves. Hickories have picked up the pace with most showing shades of yellow and gold, and the maples continue to exhibit reds, yellows and oranges, though some of the early turners have lost much of their canopy. American beech, redbud and chestnut oak are the newcomers this week for yellow and bronze.

The red spectrum continues to be represented by sourwoods, maples, blackgums, sumacs and dogwoods. The newcomers of the week in the red spectrum are the red oaks that weren’t impacted by the earlier heat stress, with many northern red and scarlett oak showing deep reds.

And, there are still plenty of trees that have not started to turn, so we should continue to see some new color development over the next few weeks.

Percentage of color change from green to date: 40% to 80%+ overall…

Highest elevations at 90%+ with locations above 3500’ elevation past peak.

Scenic Drive:

Most drives through north Georgia will provide opportunities for good color. Traveling up US 441 through Habersham County into Rabun County to Tallulah Gorge and then points north would provide some good potential. Continue north into Rabun County and head west on US 76 or up to the Black Rock Mountain area. For lesser traveled routes in the area, try the Persimmon Road/Germany Road area, and for the real adventurers, possibly the Tallulah River Road off of Persimmon Road (but travel slowly as this unpaved US Forest Service road is very narrow.)

Also nice is GA 52 west out of Ellijay toward Fort Mountain, taking in the Cohutta Overlook along the way.

#GALeafWatch2018