All posts by Jim Abbot

Ken’s War on Snarl

Tree Watch member Ken Taber likes to call the overgrown, neglected corners of Inman Park — with their tangles of wisteria, privet, leatherleaf mahonia, thorny olive, tree of heaven, and other invasive plants — “snarls.” They look something like this:

And for physical activity, Ken likes nothing better than charging his battery-powered chainsaw and strapping on the holster of his handsaw for an afternoon of reducing Inman Park’s snarl problem.

Can You ID These Trees?

Bob and Wendy Palmer Patterson’s yard at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Hurt Street in Inman Park is a plant lover’s paradise. See if you can identify the species of each of the three larger trees shown in this photo.

Send us your answer: common name and scientific name for each tree, please. (Hey, that’s what Google is for!) The first correct response gets a free Inman Park Tree Watch T-shirt!


Each fall, Inman Park Tree Watch begins planning its next tree planting project, which typically takes place on a Saturday morning early in the new year. Here’s how it works.

  1. Working closely with arborists and landscape architects at Trees Atlanta, we identify broad areas and individual locations in Inman Park that need new trees.
  2. We contact these property owners, urging them to work with us to get new trees in the ground. At the same time, we place notices in the fall issues of the Advocator,  advertising to homeowners the opportunity to make their yards just a little greener.
  3. We meet individually with each interested home or business owner to present our recommendation. Discussion about species and planting site(s) continues by phone or email for as long as is necessary to ensure that the property owner is excited to participate.
  4. We order, have delivered, plant, water, and mulch as many at 60-70 new trees on that winter morning, relying on the strong backs and willing hearts of dozens of volunteers.
  5. Owners of our newest trees are invited to make a donation to Inman Park Tree Watch through Friends of Inman Park, a 501(c)(3) organization. In some cases, the cost of a tree may be funded by the City of Atlanta itself.
  6. Trees planted in the sidewalk planting strip are maintained by an urban forestry crew at Trees Atlanta for two (2) years, courtesy of funding from the City of Atlanta.

Planting a tree in your own yard and need some guidance? Never fear! Trees Atlanta has a wonderfully helpful tutorial.



The only problem with planting 1,000 trees in 15 years is that it takes a lot of work to keep them alive and healthy. Here’s how Inman Park Tree Watch does that.


A young tree benefits from skillful pruning to ensure that it develops sound structure. Tree Watch also prunes trees to keep branches out of our sidewalks and curbside parking areas, to correct problems in older trees such as co-dominant leaders and crossed branches, and to remove invasive, non-native trees from greenspaces. This tree in the Poplar Circle section of Freedom Park displays evidence — in the circles of woundwood that have developed over our pruning cuts — of Tree Watch’s maintenance efforts.


Spreading organic mulch over the roots of a tree provides essential benefits. Mulch keeps the soil moist and cool, inhibits the growth of grass and weeds, and ultimately decomposes to furnish the tree with nutrients. Have you seen one of our younger trees without mulch?  Contact us!


Jack and Alex understand that water is the source of all life!

Learn more about proper care for your trees from Trees Atlanta.


In 2005, an arborist delivered some bad news to the developers of Marble Lofts on Dekalb Avenue. He reported that in his professional judgment, a large southern red oak (Quercus falcata) on the site would probably not survive the impending construction. The city’s arborist agreed and put up a notice of his intent to issue a permit for the tree’s removal.

Thanks to Atlanta’s progressive tree ordinance, however, an adjacent homeowner was given adequate time to appeal the city arborist’s decision. That man reached out to Tree Watch, which saw merit in his appeal and decided to work with him to make his case.

In the end, the neighbor won his case before the Tree Conservation Commission. Fortunately for the tree, the developers opted not to appeal the commission’s decision to superior court. Instead, with some slight adjustments in the site design, their construction had a smaller impact on the tree than they had feared.

All’s well that ends well! Here’s a picture of that tree, more than a decade after an Inman Park resident made an effort to rescue it.


Which of these is false?

  1. Lake Claire’s tree canopy is currently twice as dense as Inman Park’s, and taking into consideration how much of Inman Park is “non-vegetative land cover,” Tree Watch is limited to about half the total area of the neighborhood when it is looking for places to plant trees.
  2. A recent study in Portland found that a single shade tree increases a homeowner’s property value by an average $7,130, while street trees add $8,870, on average, to a house’s sale price.
  3.  A two-stroke, gas-powered leaf blower releases into the air about 300 times the hydrocarbons of a heavy-duty pickup.
  4. In the front yard of a house on Elizabeth Street is a 70-foot tall, multi-trunk redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) — a Pacific coast redwood, that is, roughly 2,700 miles distant from the California forests where it has its true home, and which is said to be comprised of the suckers that sprouted from the stump of a tree planted by Joel Hurt himself!!!
  5. There is absolutely no connection between knowing more about the natural world and caring more about the natural world.

If you chose #5, congratulations!

Tree Watch needs your help in identifying topics, issues, speakers, experts, activities, venues, media outlets, and so forth, to educate Inman Park residents about the critically important work we must do to ensure that Atlanta remains a city with an environment that is supportive of human health and prosperity. Contact us!