Ask and Ye shall receive (an answer)
Curious about who we are and what we do? Are you interested in our services or looking to volunteer? Many of the most common questions about Trees Atlanta are answered right here. If your particular question is not addressed, you can contact us 404-522-4097.
Trees Atlanta's Mission
Q: What is the mission of Trees Atlanta?
A: Trees Atlanta is a nationally-recognized citizens’ group that protects and improves Atlanta’s urban forest by planting, conserving, and educating.
Trees Atlanta History & Purpose
Q: How did Trees Atlanta start?A: Check out the History of Trees Atlanta.
Q: Atlanta has so many trees, why does Trees Atlanta exist?A: Trees Atlanta plants trees to protect and improve our urban environment. Although Atlanta may be known as “a city in a forest,” the city has lost more than 60% of its tree canopy since the 1970s, and downtown temperatures are three-to-six degrees hotter than surrounding in-town neighborhoods, a phenomenon that Trees Atlanta is committed to diminishing (click here to learn about “heat islands“). As part of our mission, we also educate citizens about the urban environment and why it is so important to our quality of life in Atlanta. There is no other major city in America as forested as Atlanta. Our mission is to make sure this legacy thrives.
About Trees Atlanta's Trees
Q: What species of trees do Trees Atlanta volunteers plant?A: That depends on the exact place we are planting, as we always strive to plant the right tree for the right place. In general, we select trees that are tolerant to tough urban conditions: heat, pollution, poor soils, floods, and especially drought. The majority of trees we plant are native to our Georgia Piedmont.
Q: Where do Trees Atlanta’s trees come from?A: Our trees are contract-grown from trusted nurseries in the southeast. We prefer Georgia-grown trees, which are more adapted to our climate and ecology and will survive better and grow stronger. When possible, we plant trees of local geno-type.
Q: Who pays for the trees?A: Funding sources are diverse and include everything from city contracts, foundations, and corporate contributions, as well as donations from neighborhood associations, garden clubs, and individuals who share our vision to restore Atlanta’s urban tree canopy. Donate to Trees Atlanta.
Q: Why does Trees Atlanta plant trees under utility lines?A: We plant the right tree for the right place. Trees Atlanta plants trees under utility lines that are understory species and which will not grow taller than 30 ft.
Trees Atlanta Area of Operation
Q: Where does Trees Atlanta work?A: Trees Atlanta has projects all over the city of Atlanta and other communities inside I-285. We plant in city right-of-ways, front yards, parks, green spaces, parking lots, schools, neighborhoods, multi-family housing, public facilities, places of worship, industrial parks, transportation corridors, PATH, and the Atlanta BeltLine. We plant trees just about anywhere.
Q: How does Trees Atlanta decide where exactly to plant inside I-285?A: It is a combination of our own prioritization along with community input. Trees Atlanta uses geographical data and canopy gap analysis to locate areas in most need of trees, such as those with high heat island indices. Our staff constantly identifies planting locations that will have the greatest benefit to the community. We also take requests, and encourage input from diverse stakeholders such as the city council, NPUs, parks and green space committees, and YOU, our neighbors that want trees in a given neighborhood. We plant trees in each Atlanta city council district. If you would like to have a project in your neighborhood, click here to learn more about NeighborWoods.
Q: My neighborhood is outside of I-285 and outside of Atlanta. Can I still host a NeighborWoods project?A: Trees Atlanta has limited resources and cannot do a NeighborWoods project outside the perimeter at this point. We hope to expand some day. We can, however, provide a bit of advice for organizing a tree planting in your community, as well as provide a list of trees that grow well in our region. Contact our office for recommendations.
Q: What kind of projects do Trees Atlanta do with volunteers, and when?A: There are at least two projects going on each and every Saturday from 9 am – 12 noon, year round. From October to March, we plant trees. The remaining months focus on a variety of tree care practices, including mulching, watering, staking, pruning, forest restoration, invasive plant removal, project preparation, and unloading trees. There are also special projects, such as festivals and our annual tree sale, for which we appreciate volunteers. Check our calendar for upcoming volunteer projects.
Q: I would like to volunteer with Trees Atlanta. How do I know what’s happening this week?A: The first step is signing up to be a Trees Atlanta volunteer. After that you will start receiving emails from us on Wednesdays that include project details, directions, and upcoming activities. If you sign up after Wednesday and would still like to know what ‘s happening that week, just visit our events calendar. Our greatest need for volunteers is on Saturdays, but we occasionally need help during the week.
If you are interested in participating in a project, simply login to your Volgistics Vicnet account to register (or follow the instructions in the email). Bring a water bottle and gloves if you have some. You can also bring money for pizza afterwards, if you’d like to join us for a community lunch!
Q: I have a group that wants to volunteer. Can we all come together?A: Trees Atlanta loves for groups to volunteer together. If you want to bring your youth group, fraternity/sorority, coworkers, friends, alumni group, etc., to a project, simply email or call Susan to schedule a date that would work for both Trees Atlanta and you! Groups of 5-40 are perfect for Saturday projects. We can occasionally accommodate weekday groups of 12 or less, but availability is limited. The size of the group needed for a project depends on the activity and scope of work.
Q: I’m required to do community service. Can I fulfill that requirement with Trees Atlanta?A: If you are required to log community service hours, we welcome your services! Our Saturday projects typically count for four hours, including travel time, and please note that it is very rare that we conduct all-day projects.
Q: I have a tree in my yard that is beautiful and healthy. I plan to add on to my house, and my tree is in the way. I want Trees Atlanta to come over and dig my tree up and move it to a park or someplace else that needs it. Is this something Trees Atlanta can do?A: Trees Atlanta is typically unable to fulfill tree-moving requests. Since we are a non-profit, our resources are limited. However, if you are determined to relocate your tree, we know of companies with special equipment called “tree spades.” These machines can dig a tree up by its root ball so that it has a better chance of survival if relocated. Contact our office for recommendations.
Q: I have some trees growing in my yard that I don’t want. Can I dig them up and give them to Trees Atlanta?A: We prefer to use trees grown by nurseries or by experts. They are already a good size for transplanting and are in containers, which makes them more likely to survive and easier for volunteers to plant. We are also selective about the species of trees we plant, and we typically plant native and non-invasive exotic trees.
Q: My tree is sick. Can Trees Atlanta send out an arborist to check out my tree for free?A: Unfortunately, no. Trees Atlanta’s staff is small and our focus is on planting and caring for trees in the public right-of-way. We recommend that you contact an ISA certified arborist to check out your tree. You may find a list of certified arborists in your area by visiting Trees Are Good‘s website.
Q: Is my tree dead?A: That’s a tough question to answer over the internet. Generally, though, if your tree is not leafed out by the end of May, it is likely that it is dead. If you need to know before the end of May, try scratching the bark with your fingernail on several branches and the trunk. If the surface underneath the bark is brown instead of green, it is likely that your tree is dead.
Legal Tree Removals
Q: Can you tell me about the city of Atlanta’s tree ordinance?A: Please see the Tree Ordinance page.
Q: Somebody in my neighborhood is taking down a tree and I think the tree is alive/should not be cut down. Who do I call?A: If you are in Atlanta, call the City Arborist’s department at 404-330-6836 and ask them if the City has issued a permit to remove a tree at _____ (give location.) Give as much information as you can about the tree, and be sure to leave a voice message if you do not reach a staff person. You can also send an email to ParksCustomerService@AtlantaGa.Gov.
If no permit exists, report that to the Arborist Department. If you are outside Atlanta city limits, you have to call the city or the county government for your city or county. The Blue Pages of the phone book will give you those phone numbers.