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For Immediate Release…February 8, 2018

Citizens across the state will observe Georgia’s Arbor Day on Thursday and Friday, February 15 and 16, 2018. Special events that celebrate the many benefits of trees will be held in cities including Atlanta, Athens and Woodbine.

“Georgia’s Arbor Day is always held on the third Friday in February, which is in the middle of our planting season,” said Chuck Williams, Director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. “Whether you’re adding trees to your yard, a city park, or any other landscape, you’re doing something important for the environment. Trees are a renewable resource that link us all,” Williams said.

Georgia has earned the distinction of being the #1 state for forestry in the nation. Georgia boasts 24.8 million acres of forestland, with 90 percent of it privately owned. The forest industry has a $35.2 billion impact on Georgia’s economy, with the urban forestry sector adding another $4 billion. Forests in Georgia provide an estimated $37 billion in ecosystem services, including clean air, clean water, and wildlife habitat.

In Atlanta, an Arbor Day event co-hosted by the Georgia Forestry Commission and Georgia Urban Forest Council on Thursday, February 15 at Trees Atlanta will feature a panel discussion with Metro Atlanta mayors and managers. Discussion will focus on collaboration that builds partnerships for the protection of community trees. The Tree City, Tree Line and Tree Campus USA programs will recognize their new and renewing members, and Columbus, Ga. will be honored for its 40th year as a Tree City. Gerald McDowell, Executive Director of Aerotropolis Atlanta Community Improvement District, will be the keynote speaker.

In Athens, a regional tree board roundtable, tree planting, and Tree City USA Awards lunch will be held at Flinchum’s Phoenix. In Woodbine, a tree care seminar at the Woodbine Community Center will cover invasive plants and insects, pruning, hurricane preparation and more.

For more information about Arbor Day events, visit http://www.gatrees.org/resources/events/. For more about the benefits of trees, and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.

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For more information, contact: Wendy Burnett 478.751.3535 wburnett@gfc.state.ga.us

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Community Tree News is sent quarterly through Constant Contact. This issue was sent January 4th. To join our mailing list, send an email to sgranbery@gfc.state.ga.us.

In addition to the Tree City USAs listed in the newsletter, several more have been certified for 2017 and will receive their materials in the next few weeks: Alpharetta, Augusta, Bainbridge, Blairsville, Clayton, Dublin, Forsyth, Fort Gordon, Jekyll Island, LaGrange, Louisville, Millen, Montezuma, Richmond Hill, Summerville, Thomasville, Tifton, Tybee Island and Union Point.

Join us for our statewide Arbor Day celebration in Georgia on February 15! More information.

Community Tree News January 2018 (1).jpg

 

 

There’s much to look forward to from the Sustainable Community Forestry Program in 2018. We’re starting off the year with a bang in several key program areas.

  • First, efforts to include green infrastructure as a part of development through the Coastal Regional Commission are paying off!! We are meeting our goal to make sure green infrastructure is mentioned in each of the plans for any major developments along the coast.
  • Thirteen new Tree City USA communities and one new Tree Campus USA joined us in 2017, and Georgia Power is again our longest standing Tree Line USA utility. The City of Columbus will celebrate its 40th Anniversary as a Tree City USA in 2018.
  • GFC is a clearinghouse for information related to storms, risk and trees. If you are a city arborist and need community tree resource planning, tree risk evaluation, or homeowner tree care materials, look no further. Attend the Georgia Urban Forest Council’s first quarterly program on January 24th in Richmond Hill for a “ready” packet and current tree risk information.
  • Plans are underway for the first simultaneous statewide Arbor Day celebration on Thursday, February 15, in Atlanta, Athens, Columbus and Woodbine. Local tree board members and elected leaders will be recognized with certificates, photos and news releases for their tree-mendous volunteer efforts.
  • Our quarterly Constant Contact newsletter, Community Tree News, will be published this week and will announce the recertified Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA communities. Don’t forget! Post your local Arbor Day event on the Georgia Grove.
  • Lastly, stay tuned for the release of the new Five-Year Plan for Georgia’s Urban and Community Forest 2018 – 2022 to see where we’re headed in the future and to contribute your own ideas for creating resilient urban ecosystems in all of Georgia’s communities.

Tree Ordinance Construction Zone

Check out December’s “Tree Ordinance of the Month” from the City of Valdosta on the Georgia Urban Forest Council’s new website, the Tree Ordinance Construction Zone, launched in November, 2017.  December 2017 – City of Valdosta, Georgia

Fall changes hit high gear this past week across the entire north Georgia region and things are progressing rapidly. Georgia’s highest elevations are now past peak, and mid to lower elevations are at, or just past peak, so serious leaf peepers need to be making plans this week!

Northeast Georgia:

This week’s passage of another storm system has resulted in the complete thinning of many of the early turners: the early maples, the yellow poplars, the birches and the sourwoods. However, there are still maples just beginning to turn, and many maples are in full color change showing bright reds, yellows and orange. The hickories are also continuing to provide some excellent yellow and bronze shades, and sweetgums are in full color display with yellows, oranges and even some purples! And the oaks have really started contributing with reds, burgundies, yellows and deep bronze hues. And roadside sumac are displaying some electric shades of bright red this week.

Northwest Georgia:

While the northwest corner of the state normally lags in color change by a week or two, things have also hit full speed in this corner of the state. Maples, sourwoods, and hickories continue to provide some great color and the oaks are beginning to kick it up a notch.  However, as with NE GA, this week’s weather event has thinned out many of the early turners, and fall colors continue to provide showers of color with any wind.

Percentage of color change from green to date:  NE GA 90%-100%  NW GA 90%-100%+

Peak?  Peak is occurring across north Georgia now. Depending on elevation, latitude and aspect, peak may have already occurred or will be another few days getting here. However, this week into next week will likely provide the last opportunities to see widespread color change, though we will still have change occurring into mid/late November.

Scenic drives:

Northeast Georgia – Just about any drive through the mid/lower elevations in NE Georgia should provide some good opportunities. Try old US 123 from Toccoa past Currahee Mountain to the Clarkesville/Cornelia area. From Clarkesville try GA 197 north and then turn back towards Helen on GA 356. And the drive from Cleveland to Dahlonega via GA 115 or some of the more rural country roads connecting the two should provide some good color.

North Central/Northwest Georgia – Good Travel Routes include:

Highway 136 over Lookout Mountain; Highway 27 over Taylors Ridge; Highway 52 Fort Mountain overlooking Grassy Mountain; Highway 136 near Burnt Mountain.

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Color has found its way onto and into virtually every ridge and valley in the region. Last weekend’s chilly weather and strong winds thinned out the yellow poplar tops, and we even saw some light snow and a heavy frost at the upper elevations!

Northeast Georgia:

We are seeing changes in virtually all species, with sourwood, black gum, dogwood, sumac and maple continuing to provide majority of reds and burgundies. Maple and sassafras are giving us reds, yellows and bright orange hues. The yellows of the yellow poplar are thinning fast, but the birch, black walunts, and hickory continue with the yellows and golds – also provided this week by American beech, redbud and black cherry.

Northwest Georgia:

Cooler weather has kicked leaf color into gear. Sourwoods are showing red, dogwoods are giving us dark reds, and maples are providing variations of red, orange, and yellow. Some of the hickory leaves have turned yellow. Grassy Mountain and Fort Mountain don’t  have significant leaf color change yet, but the Lookout Mountain area and Taylors Ridge are quickly coming around. Peak in the northeast will probably be next week through next weekend.

Percentage of color change from green to date?  NE GA 40%-100%;  NW GA 40%-75%

Peak: The highest elevations are slightly past peak, but with the oaks yet to hit their mark, there will still be color at these uppermost elevations into November. Expect to see peak or near peak conditions at the 3000 feet elevation range starting over the next 10 days. Below 2500 feet, peak conditions should begin across the region toward the end of next week and running through the next 10 days.

Scenic Drives:

Northeast Georgia –The upper Tallulah River basin would offer some opportunity this week.  Travel GA 197 from Clarkesville up to Lake Burton and then travel US 76 to either Hiawassee or Clayton.  Or, north of Batesville, turn east off of GA 197 onto Burton Dam Road and travel around Lakes Seed and Rabun.  Remember the trip around Lake Rabun is on a very narrow road with little shoulder so stay alert and drive carefully.  And, the Richard Russell Scenic Hwy (GA 348 in White and Union Counties) continues to hold a lot of color and continues to be a good bet.

North Central/Northwest Georgia –  Good Travel Routes include:

Highway 136 over Lookout Mountain.

Highway 27 over Taylors Ridge.

Highway 52 Fort Mountain overlooking Grassy Mountain.

Highway 136 near Burnt Mountain.

The second issue of the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Community Tree News newsletter for Georgia tree board members is now available. Don’t forget, the Tree City USA, Tree Campus USA and Tree Line USA application deadline is November 15th.

Community Tree News October 2017

View at this link: http://conta.cc/2iAeB8w