Speak for the Trees

District 34 is home to numerous ash trees (examples above), which are now threatened due to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive beetle species. This insect will have a devastating effect on our community’s tree canopy, with almost all untreated ash trees expected to die by 2026. It is estimated that up to 10% of Nashville’s tree canopy is ash trees, and in many District 34 neighborhoods, the percentage of the canopy is much higher. Ash trees can be found throughout the district in parks, neighborhoods, school campuses, cultural sites, along city streets and in private yards. There are 241 ash trees on the 55 acres at Cheekwood, for example, and my own street adjacent to Cheekwood is a veritable grove of beautiful, tall ash trees. Sadly, the loss of ash trees will be both visible and palpable for many District 34 neighborhoods.

In partnership with the Metro Tree Advisory Committee, Metro Public Works and Cheekwood, I am hosting a District 34 Community Meeting about the Emerald Ash Borer epidemic on Wednesday, July 10th, 7:00 – 8:00 PM at Cheekwood in the Potter Room in Botanic Hall. This will be a concise informational meeting to make sure you know exactly what an ash tree looks like and all the options you have to address their impending demise in your neighborhood and/or at your home. If you have a big, healthy ash tree, you may still be able to save it through trunk treatments. Other ash trees, which become brittle and hazardous as they die, will need to be removed, or if they are in a wooded area and not a hazard, they can be left to die in place.

The loss of ash trees will have a significant impact on private and public property in the coming years, however this past year, I found that many Nashvillians had not yet heard of this looming epidemic. This spring, I filed a resolution to help raise awareness in our community and within Metro Government. The death of so many large canopy trees will have an impact on both the Public Works and Parks Department budgets and the impact to stormwater runoff will also be challenging for Metro’s Stormwater Division. Click here to read the resolution.

Additional Resources & Information: https://www.nashville.gov/Public-Works/Community-Beautification/Tree-Information.aspx

During my first term in office, it has been my privilege to work with the Metro Tree Advisory Committee, Nashville Tree Foundation, Nashville Tree Task Force, and numerous advocates for trees on community tree plantings–most recently along Page Road in District 34, where the “kissing canopy” has been compromised by two major straight-line wind events and along which there are numerous ash trees. Trees can serve as traffic calming–when planted close to the street, they narrow a drivers cone of vision and reduce speeding. Along Page Road, Metro’s horticulturist worked with neighbors to strategically place the new trees in areas of impending ash loss.

Root Nashville, a public/private campaign, is led by Metro Nashville Government and the Cumberland River Compact. Root Nashville’s goal is to plant 500,000 trees across Davidson County by 2050. All the trees from community plantings are recorded on the Root Nashville website, and if you plant a tree(s) at your own home, please make sure you record it on the website also to help the city reach its goal. Stay tuned for the Metro Public Works tree sale in the fall, for great deals on trees and assistance in the planting and watering them.

In the last two years of this term, I’m also proud to have been the lead sponsor on Nashville’s first tree-related legislation in 10 years. BL2018-1416 was highly technical and complicated and took many months working with Metro Planning staff and stakeholders to reach consensus. The bill as substituted and amended had a positive public hearing on July 2 and is now on track to pass third and final reading on July 16th. “The tree bill” will better incentivize mature tree retention and street trees and require more tree density in commercial and multi-family development. This is just the first in a series of bills that will work in concert with each other to deliver a more consistent, comprehensive and effective approach to urban forestry in Nashville.

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  • Written by angie henderson

Planting for the Future

Happy spring! During my childhood, I lived for many years on five wonderful acres on Granny White Pike. There were lots of trees to climb in, a workshop, a potting shed, a green house, lots of gardens, a fish pond, and a root cellar! Pretty much paradise for a young person. Each year in late winter and early spring, I eagerly anticipated the arrival of daffodils that had been planted by our home’s previous owners way back in the 1940s. Now this was no ordinary cluster of daffodils–this was an immense cutting garden with thousands of bulbs and blooms in multiple rows–a beautiful sight to see and smell and experience. I wonder if the owners knew that the bulbs they planted would be delighting a new family over 40 years in the future?

Planting thousands of daffodils is a gift to the future, not just for one spring but for several generations. Daffodil bulbs and their potential remind me of the green investments that our city can “plant” today–like greenways, protected bike lanes, sidewalks with green buffers, street trees, water gardens, bioswales, pervious pavement, canopy trees, native flowers, and pocket parks. If these infrastructure “bulbs” are planned thoughtfully and planted well, Nashville and Nashvillians will be enjoying the beauty and utility of those investments (and daffodils) for generations to come.

One place that comes to mind when I think about daffodils and the importance of enhancing and maintaining green space is the “traffic island” at the intersection of Abbott Martin & Cleghorn. In the early 2000s, as a volunteer for The Green Hills Action Partners (TGHAP), I applied for a small grant from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods for a brick and limestone welcome sign to provide a sense of arrival in the business district.  TGHAP partnered with surrounding property owners and businesses to plant bushes and seasonal flowers, but my favorite part of the process was planting daffodil bulbs with fellow volunteers.

We requested those bulbs from Metro Beautification/Public Works, and you too can get daffodil bulbs from Metro, if you focus your efforts at a local school. Start thinking now about partnering with a school to plant daffodils this fall. The deadline is October 31st to request bulbs via this form, and November is the ideal time to plant them. Learn all about daffodils and what they need to thrive here.

This month the Abbott Martin & Cleghorn “traffic island” is again going through a transformation. The tall and stately elm that was for many years the highlight of this space died unexpectedly this summer and a redbud tree that had brought spring color seemed to have given up with old age. The demise of these two trees prompted me to seek out community partners to make this public space beautiful once again. This month in partnership with The Tree Foundation & Metro Public Works, we are planning and planting for the future of this green space in the heart of our business district. More on this project later!

Today, I am looking forward to seeing the 10,000 daffodils planted by Cheekwood on the lawn behind their Pineapple Room restaurant for Cheekwood in Bloom. (Go ASAP, they are in full bloom now!), and in the coming weeks,???????????????????????????????????????????? 100,000 tulips will be blooming too. One of District 34’s many treasures, Cheekwood is beautiful in every season, but spring is a special treat. I encourage you to join me as a member, if you’re not one already, to help support and preserve this unique landscape for generations to come!

As your councilperson, I will be committed to protecting, preserving and enhancing District 34’s natural environment and special places. I will be committed to creating more vibrant, safe and beautiful public spaces and streetscapes throughout Nashville. Through intentional efforts, strategic investments, and community partnerships, we can make our city’s public spaces more beautiful. Let’s plan and plant for Nashville’s future together. Is there a public space in District 34 that could be more safe and/or beautiful? A triangle of concrete that should be a bed of native wildflowers?  A spot that needs some daffodils? Go to my contact page and send me a message. I’d love to hear from you.

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  • Written by angie henderson