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Tree City Award, Arbor Day, and Memorial Tree Program
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Tree-City-USA.jpgLakeland Designated a Tree City USA Award Recipient
As of 2017, Lakeland has received the Tree City USA Award twelve times!

The Tree City Award recognizes cities that have made it a priority to plant, preserve, and protect their precious tree resources as well as engage the community in environmental stewardship.

To achieve this status, cities must meet five standards:
Have a tree advisory committee, a tree care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its program, an Arbor Day observance, and service learning projects.

The Tree City USA Growth Award is awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation to recognize higher levels of tree care by participating Tree City USA communities. The Growth Award highlights innovative programs and projects, increased commitment resources for urban forestry, and provides an opportunity to share new ideas and successes across the country. Lakeland has received the Growth Award 8 times.

The Tree City USA and Growth Award programs are sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service.

Lakeland's Commitment to Preserving Nature for Future Generations

Arbor Day 2016
The Arbor Day celebration on Friday, April 29, at the Lakeland Senior Center, was moved inside due to the rain that poured down just before the outdoor festivities were to begin.

Thankfully not before Tom Skehan, (then) Planning Director for the City of Lakeland arrived with a truck full of Persimmon, Shiny Shumac and Red Oak trees complimentary to participating guests.

The trees were some of a variety of 300 trees recently received from the TN Department of Agriculture as part of the City of Lakeland’s recent recertification as a Tree City USA. The City is recognized for a higher level of care for its trees.

“It is a privilege to be a Tree City USA community, but with all privileges comes responsibilities,” said Skehan. “Lakeland has a responsibility to not only celebrate Arbor Day and support the program requirements of Tree City USA, but to ensure that our policies, regulations and practices align with general urban forestry principles.”

Inside the Lakeland Senior Center participants were treated to tasty pastries and fresh piping hot coffee, as they heard many different reasons trees are important to a community from horticulture expert and coordinator for the Master Gardener program, Dr. Chris Copper with UT Shelby County Extension Services. Participants also received helpful tips on caring and planting of trees and plants. They learned that the soil in the mid-south should be appreciated - even the clay. “A lot of people complain about having clay,” said Cooper. “Don’t complain about the clay. Clay holds water and nutrients and that’s really important to the health of plants.”

Lakeland’s (then) city manager, Jim Atkinson, joined the event. He welcomed participants and thanked Dr. Cooper for making a special appearance during the Arbor Day celebration. “We take pride in our trees here in Lakeland,” said Atkinson. “We are proud to have Tree City USA status back.”

Although the event, originally scheduled on the patio of the Center Senior overlooking the serene scene of greenery surrounding I.H. Park and the 5-acre lake, was moved indoors, the topic and discussion was informative and fun. The event featured a little Trivia excitement among those in attendance. Linda Doyle won a gift card by guessing the correct age of a tree pictured on a handout that was passed around. Doyle beat out other Trivia competitors for knowing how to count the growth rings on a stump to tell its age.

The Arbor Day festivities were all thanks to Betty Ratcliff, a Lakeland resident and a regular at the LSC, who planned and organized the event.   
Thanks to coordinator Betty Ratcliff, (then) City Manager Jim Atkinson, (then) Planning Director Tom Skehan, and Special Events Coordinator Kim Odom.


Celebrating Arbor Day with a tree planting at City Hall Park (left). Regional Urban Forester Shawn Posey presented Lakeland Elementary School fifth-grader Jonas Ilgunaitis with the Arbor Day Poster Contest award (right), March 23, 2013.

tree_memorial2.jpgMemorial Tree Program

Here is a brochure regarding Lakeland's Memorial Tree Program.
Please verify that the information provided is up-to-date by contacting City Hall.

The Memorial Tree program allows groups and individuals to donate trees to honor and commemorate individuals, families, and organizations. It is a way to provide a living tribute that will last several lifetimes.  

Planting trees in a city park is a wonderful way to honor loved ones while providing a gift to the entire community. Trees are planted in public parks so that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the beauty living trees provide.

A memorial tree can be planted for a variety of occasions: in honor of a loved one, friend, or colleague who has passed; to celebrate the life of someone special; to commemorate individuals, families, or organizations; or even to celebrate a wedding, graduation, birth, birthday, or other occasions.

Only trees from the City of Lakeland's Tree Species Selection List are available for the program with most trees being 15-gallon size at the time of planting. Maintenance and replacement of the tree(s) will be guaranteed for a five-year period from the time of planting or any subsequent replanting.

Donors will be notified of the tree’s planting date, species, and location. Trees will be labeled with the same type of display as those used throughout the City’s arboreta. That is, anodized aluminum labels mounted directly on or staked next to the tree with the following format.

tree.png.pngNatural Resources Department & Board

For more information regarding Lakeland's Natural Resources Department, click here.

For the Parks & Recreation/Natural Resources Board meeting times, click here.

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Tree Removal

Tree removal permits are required for all trees 10” in diameter or greater, per Lakeland's Tree Management Ordinance (TMO).