Tree Information

Morningside Lenox Park is known for its greenspaces and stately, mature trees.  Not only do our trees provide shade and beauty, they renew the air we breathe and soak up storm runoff.

Unfortunately, our urban tree canopy is under pressure from developers who find it easier to remove most or all of the trees on a lot when building a new house or renovating an old one than to protect the trees as required by the city’s Tree Protection Ordinance.  The fines for this behavior are too small (relative to the potential profit) to act as a deterrent.  Please consider joining the volunteers who help see that MLPA works tirelessly to protect our neighborhood’s tree canopy.  If you are interested, email parks@mlpa.org.

If you have a concern about a tree in a lot that is being renovated, please contact the City of Atlanta Arborist Division that is charged with protecting Atlanta’s tree canopy on private property.   Trees that are not located on private property are protected by the arborists in the City of Atlanta Office of Parks.   The Office of Parks provides a list of trees that have been approved for removal and the dates by which an appeal must be made.

Maintaining the Trees on Your Property

The following are some pointers to help you maintain the trees on your property so that they will flourish and be a source of enjoyment.

Regular Maintenance

  1. Mulch: place mulch around the roots but not next to the trunk. Extend as far as possible to the drip line. Apply only 2-4“of mulch.
  1. Water:  regular watering schedule in times of drought.  Water mature trees and younger ones.  Water newly planted trees weekly until established.  Mature trees are more variable in their needs, but during long periods of little or no rain, they must be watered at least monthly.  Apply approximately 2 gallons per 1” diameter of your tree.  Draw a circle on the ground that is the same diameter from the trunk as the outermost tips of the branches.  This is the critical root zone that must receive an even distribution of the water.  Apply the water slowly so that it will soak into the ground.
  1. Prune: Trees need regular maintenance, including trimming of dead and weak limbs. Never allow your tree to be ‘topped’ – this is illegal.  Do not allow anyone who prunes your trees to climb it with spurs. If you are not sure what needs trimming or can’t do the pruning yourself, consult an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) to evaluate the tree.  Only hire a tree company that is certified by the ISA.
  1. Remove vines and groundcover that are growing on the trunk and into the branches. Most common in Atlanta are English Ivy, Wisteria, and Kudzu. These vines should not be growing on the trunk or around the base of the tree.  Groundcovers that are maintained around the base but away from the trunk and exposed roots are acceptable.  Consider that these plants will be using moisture from the soil that the tree needs when you calculate your water amounts for the tree.
  1. Observe your tree.  Look for mushroom-like fruiting bodies on the trunks and in the soil around the root zone. These are indicators of various fungi that can damage the tree.  Look for cankers on the trunk or branches.  Observe the leaves to determine if they are a healthy green color. Consult with an ISA certified arborist to determine if your tree is suffering from a fungus or other disease. The arborist will know what kind of treatment to give your tree.
  1. Hire a certified arborist to check mature trees. Trees should be checked every few years.   The company that you hire to evaluate your trees may find that a tree is a hazard tree. Any tree found to be a hazard tree must be permitted for removal by the City of Atlanta.  This type of permit does not require a posting or appeal period.  Therefore, once you have the permit, the tree may be removed. Call the City Arborist Office (404-330-6874) to request the permit; they will inspect the tree. The City Arborist can also perform evaluations of the conditions of your trees. You may call the city Arborist or hire a tree company with a certified arborist to make the general evaluations of the health of your trees.

Two good web sites for more information about urban tree care:

  1. The Georgia Forestry Commission website offers information applicable to Atlanta tree care and environmental conditions.  It also has information for finding and hiring certified arborists.
  1. The Alliance for Community Trees.  This site has a variety of links to tree related topics.