The first Friday in March is the State of Tennessee's Arbor Day.
It's a day encouraged for individuals and groups to plant and care for trees. We checked to see how our communities have replaced tornado damaged trees. When storms damage trees, the clean up and replacement effort can take months. Gene Hyde, City of Chattanooga Forester said, "Its almost a year round process of putting together the planting list and locations, and then we start the process all over again."
In 2011, we experienced strong storms in February, tornadoes in April, and 11 inches of rain in September. All three of those storms were devastating and took down thousands of trees. Hyde said, "As a result of that, we have kind of picked up our tree planting activity a little bit. And over the course of the past couple years we have planted somewhere between 500 and 600 trees each year." On Arbor Day of 2012, an EF3 tornado ripped through the Harrison and Ooltewah area. The storm toppled, snapped and shredded even more trees. Hyde said, "So that was another storm that created some devastation that we are still trying to do some tree planting to make up for that."
Tree replacement has also been a continuous effort in Ringgold, Georgia through the city. Hundreds of trees were snapped in half or ripped right out of the ground.
The community came together for more than a year to replant some of their trees. Raye Brooks, Trees for Ringgold said, "We planted over, I would say close to 650 trees total." Ringgold City Manager Dan Wright says an additional 80 trees were planted in the city and parks. He said the city is working with Georgia DMC and Georgia Power to bring in more new trees in the near future.