Wilson earns Tree City USA honor for the 37th year

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Wilson celebrated the planting of four scarlet oak trees at Rotary Park at the corner of Ward Boulevard and Branch Street on Friday.

Wilson city arborist Mike Webster said the planting, held at the former Cavalier Park, was in recognition of Arbor Day.

“Wilson has been a Tree City USA City for 37 years,” Webster said. “We are in the 90th percentile of all the cities and areas in the state of North Carolina.”

Webster said it has been a community effort.

“We planted 135 trees this year,” Webster said. “We planted white oaks, scarlet oaks, Shumard oaks, Forest Pansy redbuds, ironwoods and saucer magnolias.”

All the trees were planted underneath power and utility lines in an effort to replace crape myrtles.

The trees were planted in historic areas of Wilson, which is what was specified in legacy historic grant and a N.C. Forest Service grant for the work.

Webster said to qualify for a Tree City USA designation, the city has to spend $2 per capita on tree plantings. Part of the sum is calculated in in-kind work.

Webster said it costs the city on average about $65 to plant a tree.

“Here in the city of Wilson, we have a lot to be thankful for,” said Brandon Webb, the N.C. Forest Service’s head ranger in Wilson County. “The work that has been put in absolutely shows. All I can say is keep up the good work and keep planting trees.”

“I get a lot of people who want to cut trees down, and we don’t like to cut trees down unless it is absolutely necessary,” said Wilson Mayor Bruce Rose.

“Most of the trees that are in east Wilson and closer to town in the Maplewood area and the Broad Street area and those areas, most of those trees were planted after World War I,” Webster said. “This area, the Cavalier Terrace area, was sort of developed after World War II. Most of the street trees planted here were planted after World War II. Trees are dying out and they are dying out faster in the older historic area, and we are having to take those trees out and manage them. We need to be planting new trees.”