Cookeville has been named a 2020 Tree City USA, marking its 31st year in the program.
Tree City USA is a program by the Arbor Day Foundation geared towards helping communities manage and expand their public trees. Cookeville Urban Forester Jaime Nunan said the re-admittance to the Tree City USA program means Cookeville’s urban forest is in good shape.
“We’re using money wisely and we’re aware of the urban forests and the problems and the benefits we receive from and we’re working to better that for the longevity of the community,” Nunan said. “For 30 years someone has been applying for this and making sure we meet those standards which I think is really cool.”
The city also received an Additional Growth Award for their grants in urban forestry and their “Stop Don’t Top” billboard campaign aimed at educating citizens about the adverse effects of tree-topping.
“A lot of times people choose to top their trees because it’s a cheaper alternative to get them closer away from the house, but what people don’t realize is that when you do that, it actually makes them more dangerous for your house because when they make those cuts in the wrong places in trees, it creates rot and the trees start to decline right there,” Nunan said. “Then it grows new branches out and that area where are the branches are connected is diseased so it’s more likely for it to break there in the future.”
This is Cookeville’s 8th year in a row receiving a Growth Award. Nunan said 2020 was a great year for tree care because people were home more and able to notice more about their trees. In turn, Nunan said that this has been a busier year with residents calling in to the department and to tree nurseries seeking advice.
Nunan said she hopes Cookeville Public Works continues its commitment to outreach and educating the residents of Cookeville about caring for its environment.