Standard One

  • A Tree Board or Department
A Tree Board is a group of concerned citizens, usually volunteer, charged by ordinance to develop and administer a comprehensive community tree management program for the care of trees on public property. Tree Boards usually function with the aid of professional foresters. In communities with a population of more than 10,000, city forestry departments with salaried employees are often feasible. These departments may or may not be supported by advisory boards or administrative commissions. This standard met with the Augusta-Richmond County Tree Commission and the Trees and Landscape Department.

Standard Two

  • Community Tree Ordinance
The Community Tree Ordinance needs to designate the Tree Board or Department and give them the responsibility for writing and implementing the annual community forestry work plan. The Ordinance should determine public tree care policies for planting, maintenance, and removals. Ideally, the Community Tree Ordinance will make provisions for establishing and updating a list of recommended street tree species to be planted with spacing and location requirements. A sample tree ordinance may be obtained by writing The National Arbor Day Foundation. This standard met with Augusta-Richmond County's Tree Ordinance.

Standard Three

  • A Community Forestry Program with an Annual Budget of at least $2 per Capita
Many communities begin their program by taking an inventory of the trees growing on public property. The species, location, and condition of each tree are noted (i.e. healthy, needs pruning, should be removed, etc.) and the inventory data is summarized in a written report for presentation and approval by the City Council. The report should be a objective analysis of the present state of the urban forest with recommendations for future management.

The essential, ongoing activity for the care of trees along streets, in parks, and in other public places is the responsibility of the Community Forestry Program. The annual work plan should address planting, watering and fertilizing, dead and hazardous tree removal, safety and fine pruning, and insect and disease control. To be named as a Tree City USA, a town or city must annually spend at least $2 per capita for its annual Community Forestry Program. All funds spent for tree care must be considered, including the budget for street tree department or board, park department's tree expenditures, dead tree removal, etc.

Standard Four (Arbor Day Observation and Proclamation)

  • An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation
An Arbor Day observance can be simple and brief or an all-day or all-week observance. A proclamation issued by the mayor must accompany the observance and declare the observance of Arbor Day in your community. You can obtain a free Celebrate Arbor Day packet by writing The National Arbor Day Foundation. Along with ideas for celebrating the holiday, the packet contains a sample proclamation.

Arbor Day is observed annually in Augusta, and is a requirement of the Tree City USA program. In Georgia, Arbor Day is celebrated the third Friday in February, as the cooler temperatures help trees establish better than if planted during the National Arbor Day Celebration, which is traditionally held the fourth Friday in April in most states. The primary functions of Arbor Day are: 1) to plant trees; and to 2) provide education on the benefits of trees.

Augusta's Arbor Day Celebration location varies from year to year, and may take place at either a park or local elementary school. Generally, event highlights include guest speakers, demonstrations of tree care and maintenance, a tree planting ceremony, and tree seedling giveaways. Additionally, a Proclamation signed by the Mayor of Augusta is read aloud. Recent Arbor Day events include the 2016 celebration, held at Heritage Academy School, and the 2017 celebrations, which were held at both Copeland Elementary and Lake Forest Hills Elementary School.