Kingsport students help plant tree for Arbor Day

Matthew Lane • Mar 7, 2020 at 3:00 PM

KINGSPORT — It was cold. It was windy. But a group of second-graders from Roosevelt Elementary School seemed in good spirits while participating in the city’s annual Arbor Day celebration Friday afternoon.

Kingsport has planted three red oak trees on the grounds of the school as part of the celebration, the third such planting of trees on the property in the past two decades in connection to Arbor Day, said the city’s Landscape Specialist Lewis Bausell.

“Our trees are part of what makes Kingsport such a great place to live,” Bausell said. “It’s important to remind our community of that every year.”

In honor of the city’s commitment to effective urban forestry management, the National Arbor Day Foundation recognized Kingsport as a Tree City USA for the 34th year in a row.

To receive this designation, a community must have:

— A tree advisory board or department

— A tree care ordinance

— A comprehensive community forestry program

— An annual Arbor Day celebration

A new tree was also added to the Notable Trees of Kingsport Register: a 55-foot-tall persimmon located along Shadyside Drive. The tree has a circumference of more than 47 inches and a crown spread of over 30 feet in any direction. To be considered “notable,” a tree must have historical significance or be the largest of its kind in an area.

Kingsport’s Streets and Sanitation Department maintains more than 12,000 trees and over 15 acres of landscaping. The department also removes damaged or dead trees on public lands, while providing annual upkeep of 21 park facilities and 827 acres of green space.

The department maintains a Level II Arboretum Certification at Borden Park, sponsored by Domtar and Keep Kingsport Beautiful. Level II requirements include labeling more than 60 tree species, keeping a map available to the public that shows the locations of the tree species and exemplifying proper tree management practices.

“These programs and partnerships show that Kingsport really values our urban forest,” Bausell said.

Kingsport’s Arbor Day celebration is a partnership of Domtar, the city of Kingsport, Kingsport Tree Advisory Board and Keep Kingsport Beautiful.

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