Athens City has a Shade Tree Commission (ASTC), and three of its members are Master Gardeners! Master Gardeners bring different areas of expertise to the Commission: Emilie Wood has a vast knowledge, and personal experience with many species of trees, including cultivars. Nancy Walker has created a rural forest, and is the only commissioner to do the Tree Commission training. Lee Gregg is a botanist and has taught Trees and Shrubs at OU. In Athens, the ASTC is composed of seven members and an attending member of Athens City Council and works to manage and promote Athens’ urban forest.
The ASTC meets every month to deal with various issues regarding city trees, i.e. trees on city land (e.g. parks) and trees in city right of way (ROW). If you have trees in your front lawn, you may have a city tree! The good news is that the city prunes or removes hazardous city trees. On the other hand, if you want to prune or remove a city tree, you need permission. That’s where the Shade Tree Commission comes in; it decides what should be done (taking into consideration what is good for the urban forest and the householders’ situations). Another important task is guiding developers to plant the appropriate number and types of trees in any new or expanded development. The approval of the ASTC is necessary before a development can go forward.
Want to know whether you have a city tree? It really depends on your street, the right of way can differ, but often it’s 20 feet from the center of the street. The city has the information on each street.
The ASTC meets monthly to deal with various issues involving city trees – trees on city land and in city right of ways. If you have a tree growing 20 feet from the center of the street you may have a city tree. The ASTC makes recommendations concerning pruning and removing city trees. The ASTC also makes decisions on how to maintain a healthy urban forest, including guiding developers to plant the appropriate number and types of trees.