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Tree City USA - What does it mean?

By Brain Colter

From Adrian to Zeeland, there are 119 Tree City’s in Michigan designated as such by the National Arbor Day Foundation. In my opinion, this is a marketing stroke of genius. The label “Tree City” implies that YOU are THE Tree City when in fact, there are thousands of Tree Cities in the US. The four criteria for being Tree City are: 

  • Spending at least $2.00 per capita on trees
  • Recognizing and celebrating Arbor Day
  • Having a city Forester or Tree Board
  • Having a tree ordinance
The City of Grosse Pointe Park has been named Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation for 33 straight years. Grosse Pointe Park has also been awarded the prestigious Growth Award. This recognizes our programs and efforts above and beyond the four requirements needed to become a Tree City. Once a city has been granted the Growth Award for ten years, it is recognized as a Sterling Community. Reasons why Grosse Pointe Park is a Sterling Community as recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation:

  • Completing a comprehensive street tree inventory which identified every city owned tree.
  • Utilizing "waste" wood for city projects (i.e. floor in the warming hut, stakes for newly planted trees, woodchips for exercise course in park, frame of bocce ball court, benches, picnic table, timeline, mantle at warming hut, lumber for scarecrows, etc.)
  • Using 100% biodegradable vegetable based oil for chain saw lubricant in forestry department.
  • Use of environmentally friendly, low emission mix oil in forestry department.
  • Composting of resident's Christmas trees.
  • Partnering with neighboring communities for tree planting bids.
  • Aggressive tree replanting program.
  • Ongoing educational presentations.
  • Practicing Plant Health Care (PHC).
  • Use of volunteers.
  • Composting and recycling all of our leaves.
  • Extensive emerald ash borer study.
  • Memorial tree program.
  • Creation of the arboretum at Three Mile Park.
  • encouragement of urban farms on vacant property.
  • Use of non-chemical, corn-glutton, as a natural fertilizer on our city owned properties.
NOTE:  The last Friday in April is always Arbor Day in Michigan.  Celebrate Arbor Day this spring by planting a tree!

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