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Preserving Davidson’s Community Forest

by | Feb 6, 2020 | News, Top Left Box, Voices of Davidson

Trees improve our health and quality of life, water and air quality, and are critical to local wildlife. Comprehensive care for our tree canopy requires orchestration of four important programs, all of which are underway in Davidson thanks to strong community support and leadership by Town Commissioners, Mayor Rusty, the Town staff, and engaged volunteers. We have come a long way in a short couple years to preserve and enhance our trees.

Did you know?

  • We have a rich canopy covering 53% of Davidson’s land area.
  • We lost 330 acres, or 7%, of tree canopy between 2009 and 2018.
  • A tree canopy with a diversity of tree species is important to canopy longevity and resilience. We are over-weighted in willow oaks and red maples which make up more than 30% of our street trees.
  • Removal of any tree 12” in diameter or greater requires a town permit – contact Pete.

#1 – Effective Street Tree Program. Street trees are located in the public road right-of-way and generally lie between the curb and the sidewalk. In 2019, Bartlett Tree Experts updated our street tree inventory to include 1,750 street trees in the village area. As is typical for North Carolina communities, Davidson’s street trees are the Town’s responsibility.

Street trees stand at the front line of providing us with beauty, storm water mitigation and shade to cool our streets and parking lots. Urban forestry is the intersection of urban trees and people; we enjoy our street trees as we walk, drive, breathe, and experience Davidson.

For the first time, a management plan is under development to manage these community gems. Longer term, the street tree inventory’s coverage will be expanded to include more of the Town’s footprint.

#2 – New and Improved Tree Ordinance. Our tree ordinance was recently overhauled to strengthen our tree-save and planting requirements, and to widen required planting strips to accommodate bigger trees. The ordinance enhancements were based on an updated aerial analysis of our canopy and will help ensure that we expand our tree canopy and not deplete the forest. The ordinance also recognizes the vital role of a town arborist as educator and implementer of the ordinance.

#3 – New Professional Arborist. Pete Grisewood is Davidson’s new (and first ever) town arborist! Pete is a seasoned professional with a thoughtful approach and deep experience with urban tree care, plan review, and street trees. Pete is available to residents for tree consultation. He also oversees tree removal permits and promotes proper tree care and protection through the ordinance and education. Pete can be reached at [email protected].

#4 – Community Engagement, Education, and Tree Planting. We all have a responsibility to properly care for trees given their public benefits. Why? More than 90% of our community’s trees are located on private property. Fortunately, we have TreesDavidson as a community partner dedicated to education about tree care and committed to engaging residents in volunteer tree planting events across Davidson. Building on the more than 500 trees planted by TreesDavidson, several exciting tree planting events are planned, including Davidson Rotary’s project along Jackson Street, memorial trees at Fisher Farm, and reforestation behind the Davidson K-8 School. Stay tuned to TreesDavidson at

What you can do:

  • Care for your trees – they will pay you big dividends!
  • If you have Ash trees, have them treated for emerald ash borer. Arborist Pete can help.
  • Support TreesDavidson by giving of your time or money, or by suggesting tree planting locations.
  • Follow the arborist’s golden rule: “Right tree, right place.”

We have an extraordinary tree canopy. Preserving it calls for each of us to take personal responsibility and pay-it-forward. Preserving our trees is a core community value – it’s what we do here in Davidson. Future generations will thank us for our efforts.

“The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.” Rabindranath Tagore

Dave Cable

Dave Cable is a passionate conservationist dedicated to land and wildlife conservation in our region. A Davidson resident, he previously led Catawba Lands Conservancy, the Carolina Thread Trail and, most recently, TreesCharlotte. He serves on Davidson's Livability Board, and on the Boards of the NC Wildlife Federation and the Redlair Foundation. He also volunteers as Davidson Lands Conservancy's Director of Land Conservation.

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