So, yesterday I was walking northeast on the section of the Freedom Park Trail between North Highland Avenue and the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum/The Carter Center.
Years ago, we planted trees nearby, along what is now called John Lewis Freedom Parkway.
These are winged elms. “Winged” refers to the corky “wings” or ridges that can be found growing on opposite sides of the tree’s twigs and branches, particularly its younger branches:
(For this tree, by the way, the scientific name and the common name are a perfect match: Ulmus alata is literally “winged elm.” Contrast our water oak, Quercus nigra, which we should be calling “black oak,” I suppose. Except what we commonly call black oak has the botanical name Quercus velutina, literally “velvety oak,” referring to the fine hairs found on its buds and young leaves. What a nomenclatural mess!)
I saw that one of the winged elms along the parkway has split in two:
On TWO upcoming weekdays, Inman Park Tree Watch and Trees Atlanta will team up to show tender loving care to some trees, young and old, which are currently beset by invasive vines, ground covers, and shrubs.
It’s called forest restoration. We need your help to restore our Inman Park forest.
On Wednesday, May 25, from 9:00 to noon, we will be working along the serpentine path through the section of Freedom Park lying between Euclid and Austin. The closest intersection to the site is Austin Avenue and Sinclair Avenue. The signup for the May 25 project is here: https://sforce.co/3Nr6Rij
On Friday, June 10, from 9:00 to noon, join us in the natural area of Springvale Park, south of Euclid, to remove invasive plants. The closest intersection is Waverly Way and Euclid Avenue. The signup for the June 10 project is here: https://bit.ly/springvaleJune10
These projects are suitable for younger children when accompanied by an adult. Bring a pair of work gloves if you have them, otherwise we’ll furnish them to you. Also a water bottle. The best clothing is long pants and closed-toe shoes or boots.
We hope to see you there! There’s a job for everyone, and your help is needed even if you cannot stay the entire time. Use the contact form on this site if you have questions.
We’re all familiar with the tree commonly known as crape or crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica). It’s not native to Georgia, but given how many crape myrtles we see in Atlanta yards, sidewalk strips, and parking lots, you might have assumed it is. It came to us from China and Korea, first to Charleston in 1790 and then everywhere else.
I’m here today with a reminder: if you are responsible for one or more of these trees, there is no law that says you must “top” a crape myrtle. The reason some people cut back these trees is because they believe it’s a technique to get more blooms and larger blooms in the summer. The reason that others top these trees is because, well, everybody else is doing it.
You can google the phrase “crape murder” to read all the reasons why it’s not a good practice to decapitate trees, putting aside aesthetics.
A few years ago, the Natalie asked Tree Watch to plant some crape myrtles out in front of their lovely building on Waverly Way. Look how elegant they already are.
Earlier, I wrote that “there is no law that says you must ‘top’ a crape myrtle.” In fact, for what it’s worth, the City of Atlanta Tree Protection Ordinance deems “topping” an illegal destruction of a tree, for which a fine may be imposed:
Topping, tipping, or any similar improper pruning practices will automatically be deemed as destruction of a tree.
So please pause a minute and consider whether you really want to chop your crape myrtle in two, especially the ones that are in the public right-of-way between the sidewalk and the street. Most varieties of crape myrtle (Tuscarora, Muskogee, Natchez, Sarah’s Favorite, etc.) do want to be trees, not shrubs. If you want a shrub, plant a shrub!
I’ll bet you didn’t know that Inman Park Tree Watch has a sideline in emergency cleanup of pocket parks! Actually, it’s not hard when some hardworking, enthusiastic, fun-loving neighbors pitch in to help.