Piedmont Park is home to one of the oldest and most valuable collections of trees in the City of Atlanta. The trees are one of the most important features in the Park, providing shade, cleaning the air and providing habitats to a large variety of wildlife. Since its founding in 1989, the Conservancy is committed to the reforesting, protection and care of trees in Piedmont Park.
Protecting the Trees
Piedmont Park has a great diversity of trees both in the landscaped areas of the park and in the woodlands. As of fall 2013, a total of 115 different tree species were identified in the park. Of these trees, 86 are species native to eastern North America and 29 are introduced species. View a list of all 115 species along with viewing locations.
Self Guided Woods and Groves Tree Tour
Download a detailed, 8-page “Woods and Groves” tree tour, to help you explore both the planted groves and natural woodlands here in Piedmont Park. This is a great tour for visitors interested in both human and natural history in the park.
In addition to having great diversity, Piedmont Park is home to a few select trees that have been crowned as “champion trees”, meaning they are the largest of their species in Atlanta or in the entire state of Georgia. One fine example is the state champion Pin Oak located in front of the Greystone building. To see a list of Atlanta’s Champion Trees, visit the Trees Atlanta website. To see a list of Georgia’s champion trees, visit the Georgia Forestry Commission’s website.
We have overseen the planting of more than 800 new trees in the historic section of Piedmont Park and 900 new trees in the expansion. The Conservancy also instituted an Integrated Pest Management system, IPM for disease and pest control. This system uses a combination of techniques to control pests with an emphasis on methods that are better for the environment and includes using natural predators, planting pest-resistant varieties and regular monitoring.
In 2001, the Conservancy established a fund to care for trees in Piedmont Park. Approximately $150,000 in donations have been directed to this account to-date, including generous gifts by Georgia Power Company and The Home Depot Foundation.
Park visitors will often see the Conservancy staff and volunteers or representatives from organizations like Trees Atlanta watering recently planted trees in Piedmont Park. The early months after planting are critical to establishing a healthy root structure. We rely heavily on volunteers to help maintain the Park’s trees. Volunteers have logged thousands of hours assisting with projects such as planting, mulching and watering.
The City’s Bureau of Parks and the Conservancy routinely inspect the trees in the Park and catalog those with dead limbs or branches that need trimming so that a healthy canopy is maintained. Trees damaged by storms are given special attention to ensure that damaged or weakened limbs don’t pose a safety hazard.
Dogwood and Oak Tree
The Conservancy is also alert to protecting trees during large festivals and events in Piedmont Park. Protective fencing will be deployed if the City Bureau of Parks or the Conservancy staff feels this is necessary to protect a tree from vehicles or equipment. Festival and event organizers that cause damage to trees in the Park will be assessed for the full costs of restoration.
Most recently, the Conservancy completed a 53 acre expansion of Piedmont Park, referred to as the North Woods expansion. This parcel of land, now open to the public, contains an old growth forest, now called Walker Woods, a wetland area, known as Six Springs, new meadows, a restored creek and new entrances into the Park including one through a section of the Walker Woods off Piedmont Avenue and Westminster Drive. The expansion also provides access to thousands of historic and newly planted native trees. For years, many of the trees in the North Woods had been covered by ivy and kudzu. As part of the expansion project, invasive species were eradicated and dead trees were removed. Other trees have been limbed up to improve the overall tree health in this area of the Park. The new trees added complement the existing landscape while preserving the long term vision of the Park’s tree canopy.
Opportunities exist to donate various species of trees in a variety of Park locations, naming the tree in the honor of someone or something special.
Many of the significant trees in the Park have been numbered and cataloged. We have been able to complete tree inventories within Piedmont Park thanks to funds received through the Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program administered by the Georgia Forestry Commission. In 2001, an initial inventory was completed, allowing the Conservancy to number and catalog many of the significant trees in the historic Park. We also created a Tree Tour which features 15 of the Park’s magnificent trees representing various species.
More recently, in partnership with Arborguard Tree Specialists, we were able to conduct tree inventories of the Front Lawn as well as the North Woods Expansion areas of Piedmont Park. These inventories not only provide a detailed listing of the number and species that exist but also demonstrate the role trees play in enhancing the Park’s economic, social and environmental benefits. Download the North Woods Expansion Tree Survey and Front Lawn Tree Survey.
It is estimated that trees in Piedmont Park’s North Woods and front Lawn areas remove 1,750 pounds of pollution from the air each year.
Atlanta is among the worst cities in America in terms of air quality. This leads to health problems, reduced visibility and is harmful to our ecosystem. The trees in Piedmont Park help improve the air we breathe by directly removing pollutants from the air, reducing air temperature and reducing energy consumption in buildings.