Tulip poplar planted in celebration of Arbor Day

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Supporters gathered Friday to celebrate the ceremonial planting of the first tree -- Tennessee's state tree the tulip poplar -- as part of Lewisburg's participation in the Tree City USA program.

By Jessica Moore

Staff Writer

An example of the Tennessee state tree, the tulip poplar, was ceremonially planted near the greenway of Rock Creek Park Friday morning.

The tree was actually planted earlier in the spring. It can be found along the greenway about half way between the crosswalk at East Church Street and the bridge landing. It can easily be identified by the concrete marker placed in the ground in front of it.

After five years in the making, Lewisburg can now be recognized as a Tree City. Communities achieve Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and celebrating Arbor Day. There are more than 3,400 communities which are currently a Tree City USA.

During the ceremony Friday, guests and officials of Lewisburg and Marshall County gathered on the greenway in front of the tree. With golden ceremonial shovels they surrounded the tree with mulch, and then said a few words.

Mayor Jim Bingham and Tree City Advisory Board Chairman Andrea Childress thanked everyone who had been involved with the City of Lewisburg reaching its Tree City USA status. They also thanked Consultant Arborist Carl Pitchford and Urban Forestry Resource Specialist Brian Rucker from the Tennessee Department of Forestry for being there that day. Lewisburg becoming a Tree City is a valuable addition to the city's resume.

Participation as a Tree City provides the opportunity to educate people who care about their community about the value of tree resources, the importance of sustainable tree management, and engage individuals and organizations in advancing tree planting and care. Trees can be donated and planted in memory of loved ones. Now, with the guidelines set by being a Tree City, the trees will be planted in a location that best suits their potential growth. For example sycamore trees will not be planted under or near power lines. Advisors would recommend a tree that wouldn't grow quite so tall.

Being a Tree City will also encourage the incorporation of trees and greenery into development throughout the city. This will help to avoid the "concrete jungle" effect.

Planting this first tree, the tulip poplar, is a wonderful step in the right direction.

If a resident wants to beautify Lewisburg, all they have to do is go to City Hall, fill in a form, choose the type of tree and planting location from the approved lists, and specify what they want written on the plaque (up to 100 characters on a maximum of five lines), and pay -- probably about $300. The city will do all the work, from buying and planting the tree to watering and caring for it. The list of places where trees can be planted currently includes the Rec Center, Jones Park, Harmon Park, and the southside soccer and adult softball parks.

The tulip poplar (liriodendron tulipifera) is one of the largest and most valuable of the native trees and grows rapidly. Its flowers strongly resemble those of the tulip. It is also the state tree of Indiana and Kentucky.