Help Knoxville develop a plan to grow its trees


Trees Knoxville, a nonprofit devoted to expanding the urban canopy of trees throughout Knox County, is inviting residents to help develop a master plan for incorporating trees throughout the city over the next 20 years. The plan will help Knoxville preserve, grow, and care for trees, which play a significant role in public and environmental health.

A series of meetings are scheduled to learn about the tree plan and to provide input. On April 11, residents may come to the Jacob Building in Chilhowee Park from 5 to 7 pm. On April 19, drop in at the Urban Trees Planning Workshop at the UT Student Union, Ballroom A, from 3 to 5 pm. And on May 11 from 4 to 7 pm, drop in at the Cansler YMCA, 616 Jessamine Street. Or click here to complete an online survey.

Cityview asked Kasey Krouse, Knoxville’s urban forester, some questions about the tree plan. 

What percentage of Knoxville already has an adequate tree canopy? 

It is not so much about quantity, but more to do with trends. We know that about two-thirds of our neighborhoods have lost tree cover and one-third has gained over the years from 2008 to 2018. The majority of that tree loss (about 550 of the 700 acres lost) was on single family residential property.

What are you aiming for?

This is one of the things that we are looking at in this planning process. We hope to make realistic and impactful goals by working through all those folks partnering and that are part of this process.  

Hardwoods or evergreens? Advantages or disadvantages?

Evergreens have some advantages over hardwoods in the fact that they have leaves year round and have some minimal environmental benefits. In fact, we need to prioritize native trees when possible, and that is mostly hardwoods. Prioritizing evergreens would impact other benefits such as wildlife habitat and food. Tree diversity is what is important.

What part of the city needs trees the most?

Again this is something that we are looking to address. A lot of this goes into overlays where prioritized needs overlap. An example may be low income neighborhoods with lack of tree cover, high impervious surfaces, and large areas available to plant.

I’d think that two major interstates crossing through town would contribute to our lack of trees. Any way to address that?

We have 1,000 miles of streets beyond just the highways. All of them impact tree canopy. Obviously, it is much easier to work out kinks in the streets that we own and maintain, but we are trying to work with TDOT on this process and develop opportunities to do more in these interstate corridors.

For more information, visit or contact Trees Knoxville at

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