Urban Forestry Crew

It takes a village (or at least a really great crew!)

Once a tree is planted and the roots have taken hold, there is still plenty of work to be done. The Trees Atlanta Urban Forestry Crew tackles the thankless tasks of watering, mulching, pruning, weeding, and generally caring for the newly planted trees that are part of the Trees Atlanta programs. Their year-round dedication is essential to the fulfillment of the Trees Atlanta mission.

Atlanta is a study in climate extremes, featuring four distinct seasons: brutally hot summers, bone chilling winters, and everything in between. Newly planted trees require regular maintenance and proper care to ensure they are able to thrive in these varied conditions. Enter, the Trees Atlanta Urban Forestry Crew, which handles the tough task of maintaining these plantings. There is a summer and winter Urban Forestry Crew, generally consisting of between eight and sixteen people. These hard-working individuals maintain two years’ worth of plantings each year, and are responsible for watering, mulching, weeding, pruning, and sometimes planting replacement trees. Undoubtedly, you have seen these folks around town, decked out in their bright green shirts and possessing a tree-loving demeanor that is contagious!

The Urban Forestry Crew provides:

  • Groundwork – watering, weeding, mulching and invasives removal
  • Installation – selecting planting sites and appropriate species
  • Blade work – pruning and shaping of limbs
  • Pest Management – pathogen diagnosis, prescription and treatment
  • Coordination with City of Atlanta Services – arranging extra-contractual care
  • Community Relations – interacting with community groups and contractors
  • Equipment and Facilities – maintaining fleet vehicles and field equipment
  • Employee Education – keeping employees up-to-date with Tree Health Care best practices
  • Volunteer Management – recruit and manage volunteers
  • Reporting – building tree database and maintaining inventory
  • Schedule of Care – tracking inventory, monitoring and treating needs
  • Tree Health Care – service and care for trees installed by Trees Atlanta:

Ongoing Care Services

We locate a suitable site, determine appropriate trees for site, pick healthy nursery stock and place orders, receive stock, inspect trees for pathogens and shipping damage, prep site (cutting concrete if the site requires it), assess soil quality, dig and amend soil if necessary, remove solid waste and backfill, deliver trees to site, install, remove wire baskets and burlap or loosen the root ball, inspect roots for rot, backfill, water, mulch, and prune branches damaged during shipping.


Year One

Crews visit newly planted trees at least once every two weeks. Trees needing special care can require more frequent visits. Crews monitor for special care needs every visit. They water trees once every ten days in drought and with greater frequency if the tree species requires it. Trees in planters need watering once a week. Crews fertilize with injectable organic fertilizer twice a year, once in the fall when leaves begin to change color, and once in the spring at leaf break. Low-content macronutrient and micronutrient rich solid fertilizers can be applied any time of the year as a supplement if needed. Seasonal mulching or amending of mulch occurs four times a year, and on sites with heavy storm run-off, with even greater frequency. Weeding both by hand and with herbicides is performed as needed. Other treatment can include structural pruning for future shape, staking auto-struck trees or trees knocked down in storms, or eliminating particular pathogens.


Year Two

The first year is highest risk for all installations. Park and greenspace trees are well on their way to establishment and require less monitoring. These trees should be monitored on a monthly basis. Since they’re located in a higher stress environment, street trees need the same level of monitoring and care as all trees need in their first year. Watering, fertilizing and mulching programs remain the same.


Year Three

This is the least intensive year for monitoring. Park and greenspace trees require only seasonal monitoring, while street trees are becoming well established and require monitoring around once every three weeks. Watering, fertilizing and mulching programs remain the same.