Urban Forestry

Check out Our Urban Forest video.

 It explains what our urban forest is and how the city and residents are contributing to it! 

Urban Forestry Video

Urban Forestry is a primary component of Waynesboro's efforts to promote a healthy and attractive urban environment. Every tree within Waynesboro's boundaries plays a vital role in supporting the fragile ecosystem characteristic of the modern city. Therefore, Waynesboro makes a considerable investment in maintaining and growing it's tree canopy. Well over $2 per capita is spent annually on pruning, dangerous tree removals, leaf removal, and tree planting. Waynesboro has an active tree planting program, planting new trees in park spaces and other public right-of-ways often with the help from grant funds from the Department of Forestry and other entities. The city also has a formal Tree Ordinance which protects trees on city property and dictates the installation of new trees and landscaping during private and commercial construction projects. These and other projects like Arbor Day celebrations, have gained the City of Waynesboro the nationally renowned Tree City USA designation for 30 years and running. 

Waynesboro encourages the use of native trees in the landscape. For the last several years, after learningNew Native Tree about the benefits of natives, the horticulture department almost exclusively plants natives in public spaces. These trees provide canopy cover which offers stormwater and cooling benefits just like any other tree, but because they evolved in the local area, they are able to support large numbers of insect populations. Thus, fueling the food chain and preserving biodiversity. Each native planted adds to the collective effort to create and sustain a healthy, functioning landscape that can support insects, birds, and other wildlife. Native species are superior to non-natives because they have co-evolved with the insects that rely on them. For example a native oak can support over 500 species of caterpillars where as a ginko, a tree from Asia, supports only 5 species when planted in the same region. Any bird in the area would prefer to have an oak close by when raising its young which rely on an abundance of bugs to survive and thrive.

If you are considering planting a tree in your yard, consider one of our favorite Virginia natives:

  • Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)- The eastern redbud blooms in early spring and is an important food source for pollinators. 
  • American Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)- Hophornbeams provide a food source for many birds, butterflies, and small mammals. 
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)- The flowering dogwood is a food source for pollinators in the spring and its berries provide late fall and winter food for birds. 
  • Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)- Pollinators love the flowers of Sweetbay magnolias, and birds and small mammals will eat the seeds. This tree is also a host plant for the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. 
  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum)- Red maples provide food for pollinators and birds. It is the host plat of the Rosey Maple Moth, and provides nesting sites for many birds. There are many varieties to choose from. 
  • White Oak (Quercus alba)- This powerhouse hosts hundreds of butterfly and moth caterpillars which are important to feed breeding songbirds. The acorns provide food for many birds and mammals. 

To find out more about the importance of planting natives check out a few books (or recorded lectures) by Larry Weaner and Doug Tallamy, These influential horticulturists have both been speakers featured at Waynesboro Parks and Recreation's Shenandoah Valley Plant Symposium. 

A number of online tools are available for anyone looking to add natives into their home landscapes here are a couple of good ones:

  • Audubon Society- Bring more birds to your yard with natives database, just enter your zip code and native tree information will populate the screen with images of the plant and bird species it attracts.
  • Native Plant Finder- Discover natives ranked by the number of butterfly and moth species that they host. Enter the email and see images of the plant with their host counts. 

Watch the Arbor Day video below for some useful tips on planting your tree and check out the ArborDay.org website for other helpful information!

Arbor Day 2020

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Things to keep in mind:

  • Native tree species are encouraged. 
  • Spring and Fall are the best times to install a tree. 
  • Horticulture staff will maintain the tree the same as other trees planted by the City. This includes watering, fertilizing, mulching, and pruning. 
  • Plaques may be placed within the mulch ring around the tree and must be obtained by the owner once verbiage is approved by Horticulture staff. 
  • Vandalism happens. Trees and plaques damaged by vandals will not be replaced at the City's expense.
  • The City of Waynesboro reserves the right to reject any donation. 

If you're not ready to plant your own tree or don't have the space, you can still add to the urban forest by donating a tree to the city. It is best to contact the Horticulture Department at 540-949-6812 to initiate the process. Here's what they will want to know:

  • Donor's name and telephone number
  • Location you would like the tree planted (ie. park name and general area- horticulture staff will select an appropriate location)
  • Type of tree you would like- Horticulture staff can help with choosing an appropriate species based on the desired location and tree characteristics. Final  species selection is subject to approval by horticulture staff.
  • Name of the garden center or nursery who is supplying the tree- Our local garden centers offer a 100% replacement warranty within a year after planting. The warranty is only valid if the garden center plants the tree, but it is worth it in case something should go awry in the first year of establishment. You will pay the garden center directly for the tree (and installation, if applicable). 

What happens next:

  • Horticulture staff contact the garden center and communicate the planting location and planting date. 
  • Horticulture staff will contact you to let you know your tree has been planted. 
Plant a tree