It explains what our urban forest is and how the city and residents are contributing to it!
Urban Forestry is a primary component of Waynesboro's efforts to promote a healthy and attractive urban environment. Every tree within Waynesboro's boundaries plays a vital role in supporting the fragile ecosystem characteristic of the modern city. Therefore, Waynesboro makes a considerable investment in maintaining and growing it's tree canopy. Well over $2 per capita is spent annually on pruning, dangerous tree removals, leaf removal, and tree planting. Waynesboro has an active tree planting program, planting new trees in park spaces and other public right-of-ways often with the help from grant funds from the Department of Forestry and other entities. The city also has a formal Tree Ordinance which protects trees on city property and dictates the installation of new trees and landscaping during private and commercial construction projects. These and other projects like Arbor Day celebrations, have gained the City of Waynesboro the nationally renowned Tree City USA designation for 30 years and running.
Waynesboro encourages the use of native trees in the landscape. For the last several years, after learning about the benefits of natives, the horticulture department almost exclusively plants natives in public spaces. These trees provide canopy cover which offers stormwater and cooling benefits just like any other tree, but because they evolved in the local area, they are able to support large numbers of insect populations. Thus, fueling the food chain and preserving biodiversity. Each native planted adds to the collective effort to create and sustain a healthy, functioning landscape that can support insects, birds, and other wildlife. Native species are superior to non-natives because they have co-evolved with the insects that rely on them. For example a native oak can support over 500 species of caterpillars where as a ginko, a tree from Asia, supports only 5 species when planted in the same region. Any bird in the area would prefer to have an oak close by when raising its young which rely on an abundance of bugs to survive and thrive.
If you are considering planting a tree in your yard, consider one of our favorite Virginia natives:
To find out more about the importance of planting natives check out a few books (or recorded lectures) by Larry Weaner and Doug Tallamy, These influential horticulturists have both been speakers featured at Waynesboro Parks and Recreation's Shenandoah Valley Plant Symposium.
A number of online tools are available for anyone looking to add natives into their home landscapes here are a couple of good ones:
Watch the Arbor Day video below for some useful tips on planting your tree and check out the ArborDay.org website for other helpful information!
Things to keep in mind:
If you're not ready to plant your own tree or don't have the space, you can still add to the urban forest by donating a tree to the city. It is best to contact the Horticulture Department at 540-949-6812 to initiate the process. Here's what they will want to know:
What happens next: