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While we plant many trees in our City’s parks each year, a much greater portion of our urban forest is on private land.  You can contribute to our City’s vitality and improve your own landscape by planting trees.  While there is a right place for just about every tree, not every tree is a good fit for every landscape.

In our built environment we need to consider things that do not occur in a tree’s natural environment such as the presence of utilities and restricted growing space.  Here are 5 trees that are adapted to our environment.  You can fine more information at the Tree Board website www.bgky.org/tree or view the City’s Public Tree Ordinance at http://www.bgky.org/government/code-of-ordinances

  • Kousa Dogwood – Cornus kousa
    • This small flowering tree grows to approximately 20-30 feet and does well in full sun unlike the native flowering dogwood.  The Kousa Dogwood has nice bark and fall color.

  • Lacebark elm – Ulmus parvifolia
    • This medium size tree grows 40-50 feet with attractive bark and tolerates poor and compacted soils

  • Black gum or Tupelo – Nyssa sylvatica
    • This native medium size tree grows 30-50 feet with excellent red fall color. The Black Gum prefers acid soil.

  • Shumard Oak – Quercus shumardii
    • This large native tree grows to 40-60 feet or more and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions.  Similar to pin oak, but does better in limestone soils common to this area.

  • Sugar Maple – Acer saccharum
    • This large native tree grows to 60-75 plus feet with excellent fall color. This is a tree that draws people to the forests in the autumn.  Requires ample space above and below ground.

The National Arbor Day Foundation recognizes cities across the country for efforts to maintain their Urban Forest by designating them as a Tree City USA.  Bowling Green has been awarded the status of Tree City USA since 1994.  An Urban Forest is made up of all the trees growing within our city including public and private trees.  This collection of trees provides many benefits to all residents such as cleaning our air and water and also makes our city more attractive to visitors, which benefits our city and local businesses financially.

Here are a few tips for planting your tree

  • Choose the tree based on your location
    • Do not plant large trees near power lines
    • Call 811 to have underground utilities marked
    • Large trees need lots of soil area
    • If you are planting a public tree (near the street) please see Public Tree Ordinance
    • http://www.bgky.org/government/code-of-ordinances
  • Do not plant trees too deep
  • Apply mulch 2-3 inches deep
    • Keep mulch off of trunk
  • Water tree for at least first year
    • About 1 inch per week
    • Water deeply and infrequently (weekly, not daily)

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