Category Archives: Education

Inman Park Neighborhood Arboretum

Trees Atlanta has put together a virtual tour of the Inman Park Neighborhood Arboretum, which focuses on flowering trees. It’s absolutely fantastic. Click on the photo to go to tour.

Our physical arboretum is, however, in dire need of a great deal of maintenance: replanting trees that have died, replacing markers that have disappeared, cleaning and resetting markers, and the like. Volunteers have stepped forward to help. If you would like to join them, contact us!

Is Our Tree Protection Ordinance Fair?

In an earlier post, I laid out some weaknesses in the revised tree ordinance that the Department of City Planning released to the public in March.

On Thursday, June 25, the City Council’s Community Development/Human Resources Committee held a working session on the draft ordinance. The chair is Matt Westmoreland, and Amir Farokhi is a member.

I am pleased to say that in its report to the committee, City Planning announced several pending changes that would be improvements over the March draft. For example, City Planning is now proposing to use the same standards for public and private trees, enforced by arborists gathered into a single office. To give another example, the earlier draft’s overly complicated “tree significance” scheme will be greatly simplified. And there’s much more, as you can see from the graphic above.

As the City actually releases its new language, I will keep you updated. We can expect to see a new draft in late August or early September, and I believe the City hopes to vote on a final version before the end of the year.

In any case, for now, I want to turn to a simple question:

Is our current approach to tree protection, even when we update it for the first half of the 21st century, going to get the job done? If you’re interested, read on. Continue reading Is Our Tree Protection Ordinance Fair?

Fear of Trees

125-year-old southern red oak being removed LEGALLY, after inspection by a City of Atlanta arborist and issuance of a permit consistent with the Tree Protection Ordinance

Everything is connected — remember that, and I’ll come back to it in a moment.

I grew up in a small town in rural Georgia. Really small: not even 2,500 people (i.e., about half of Inman Park’s population). In those days and in that part of the world, children spent a lot of time outdoors. Lots and lots of time outdoors.

From an early age, therefore, older people were continually instructing us in the proper evaluation of risk. Mommy and Daddy were not going to be around to protect us from each and every danger: we children had to learn for ourselves how to live a full, active life with an acceptable level of risk. Continue reading Fear of Trees

Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

There are earlier posts of mine about gas-powered leaf blowers: read them here and  here. Washington, D.C., recently enacted a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers, to take full effect by 2022. The journalist James Fallows and his wife Deb were among a small group of neighborhood activists who started working toward this in 2015. You can read here a short article by Fallows at The Atlantic with links to additional information.

Public Service Announcements

Getting Some Tree Work Done?

Get multiple bids with detailed estimates of the costs and time required.

Ask whether the work will be planned and supervised by an arborist who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

What equipment will be used? If you are told that a crane or boom lift is necessary, ask why the work can’t be done by tree workers climbing with ropes.

How will they clean up your property at the completion of the removal or pruning?

Exercise some due diligence. If you spot a tree worker in a boom lift (see photo above) wielding an unsecured chainsaw without any protective gear at all (hardhat, safety glasses, earplugs, gloves), you’ve hired the wrong company. If workers seem to you to be insufficiently careful around the chipper, you’ve hired the wrong company. Ask them to stop work immediately and insist on speaking with a manager.

Note that some tree services are investing in electric equipment and committing to practices that are better for the environment. If you can afford to pay a little extra for that service, you will be encouraging other companies to do the same.

Here’s an earlier post on this website about selecting a tree service company.

Hiring a Lawn Service? 

Does the company offer a clean and quiet service using battery-powered and manual equipment? Does it have expertise in organic lawn and plant care?

What is the minimum number of times each month that you absolutely need this service? Do you need it year-round, e.g., even in winter?

Can the work be scheduled at a time when it is least likely that the noise will disturb your neighbors, e.g., not on a weekend and not early in the morning or late in the afternoon?

Do the workers seem professional and well-trained? Do they wear protective gear? Are they paid a living wage?

Hiring Someone to Spray for Mosquitoes?

Before you sign up, do your homework. Are you breeding mosquitoes by leaving standing water on your property? Can you adequately protect yourself by applying repellent or screening a porch? What chemical will the company use, and what can you find out about that chemical by doing your own research? Are you vulnerable enough to the inconvenience of a mosquito bite or the remote chance of contracting a mosquito-borne disease that it outweighs the environmental damage caused by the spraying, e.g., the killing of bees?

Here’s a Consumer Reports article on whether to spray your yard for mosquitoes and ticks. And once again, as with anyone visiting your property to do work, insist on professionalism and adequate safety measures: if the young person misting your yard is wearing no protective equipment at all, for example, ask why.

New Tree Wells!

Many, many thanks to Peter Coyne and his son Declan of Oakview Landscape Construction for our new tree wells on Ashland Avenue.

Declan is working toward his Arrow of Light rank in Cub Scouts and this was his community service project. He talked with Inman Park Tree Watch about the contributions that urban trees to energy conservation, and then he and his dad got to work.