Category Archives: Trees

A True Champion

Champion Tulip Poplar - Liriodendron tulipifera

Champion Tulip Poplar – Liriodendron tulipifera

These trees represent some of the oldest, heartiest, and most beautiful trees our city has to offer.

Trees Atlanta

A few weeks ago we learned that the Champion Tulip Poplar tree for Atlanta is right here in Peachtree Park on Peachtree Drive!  (You can read all about the Champion Tree Program [1] on our page on Special Trees).

Champion Tulip Poplar

Champion Tulip Poplar looking up

The owners were kind enough to show us this tree in their backyard and tell us about discovering its Champion status.  Since they moved into the house four years ago, the tree has received quite a lot of attention.  Eli Dickerson, an ecologist at Fernbank Museum of Natural History, has measured the tree and helped place it on Atlanta’s Champion Tree List for 2016. [2]  (Look on Page 4 at the top of the list on the second line.  It says that the tree is in Peachtree Hills, but should say Peachtree Park.)

This beautiful Tulip Poplar has a Champion Tree score so high that it is close to being a Champion Tree for the entire state of Georgia!

The way the land slopes steeply down from the street masks the true magnificent size but when you see it up close, it’s jaw-dropping.  It measures over 140 feet in height (that’s as tall as a 14-story building) and has a circumference of over 19 feet.  The crown, or ‘spread’ is 68 feet. [3]  We estimate this tree is between 150 and 220 years old. [4]

The owners are humble and proud to have this tree in their charge, and are intent on being good stewards.  They first had it checked for structural flaws and disease (it’s in great shape), and then went a step further by installing lightening rods to protect it from lightning strikes. It was a fairly involved and expensive project.  There are now three large gauge copper wires running from the top of the tree to long copper stakes driven deep into the ground some distance away.

We think it’s awesome that our neighborhood has so many wonderful old trees such as this.  Even better that so many people who live here, like the owners of this Tulip Poplar, realize their enormous value and do so much to keep them safe and preserve them for us all the enjoy.

References and Additional Information

[1]  Trees Atlanta: Seeking out Atlanta’s Champion Trees
[2]  Atlanta’s Champion Trees – 2016
[3]  Georgia Forestry Commission: Georgia Champion Tree Program – How to Score a Tree
[4]  The Intown Hawk: Tree Size and Age

No Habitat, No Wildlife

As a rule, we like to keep our content focused on positive things.  However, since this blog is about urban wildlife, we’d have no conscience if we didn’t speak up on an urgent issue that is critical to our wildlife and to each of us here as residents.

More than Thirty-five large trees and countless smaller ones have just been removed by developers in Historic Peachtree Park over the last few weeks from just 2 lots (696 Darlington Rd and 3005 Dale Drive).  Some of these trees had an 80- to 100- year history of growth.  This is a big blow.  And more tree removal signs are up in other parts of the neighborhood.   At this rate there won’t be any Park left in Peachtree Park.

Over 20 concerned neighbors and the Peachtree Park board appealed to the City to save two large specimen oaks on the Darlington Road lot.  You can see these magnificent trees in the photo on the left above.  The appeal was denied and the result is shown below.  Bottom line: a developer can build anything anywhere on a lot, and if a saving a tree is inconvenient, the City’s ordinances permit removal.  In other words, trees come last.

Bluntly put, developers with no long term interest in this neighborhood, clear a lot, often overbuild the property, make a profit and leave.  The developer, a temporary interloper and profiteer, is gone and so are the trees.  This is by now an all too familiar pattern.

Wildlife is victim to this staggering habitat loss.  No trees: no bugs, no birds, no critters.  We are all victims of this loss as well.  We lose our tree canopy, shade, ecosystem services like controlling runoff and cleaning our air, and of course beauty.

3005 Dale

3005 Dale Drive was a wooded wildlife haven. It has now been mostly clearcut and lost more than 21 large trees.

One neighbor posted on the neighbor social media site:

“Is anyone concerned about more and more of the old majestic trees being taken down to make room for new houses/townhomes in our neighborhood?  One of the reasons we moved here was the green feel and the stunning trees in many yards.”

We love to talk about wildlife and the habitat that supports them.  Are we willing to take action to stop its wholesale removal?

What can you do?

  • There are developers and architects who care about trees and work hard to save them. If you’re renovating, seek them out and support them (some even live in our neighborhood).
  • If you’re buying a home, find out what was there before. If the property was clearcut, tell your realtor to keep looking. Let’s raise the bar and send a message we care about trees.
  • And you can support the Peachtree Park Board in their efforts to take a stand against this tree massacre. If you’d like to help, contact the PPCA Landscape Chair Michelle Lyle –

Think of it this way: If you have a young child and plant a tree in your yard now, your child will most likely not live long enough to see that tree live to be as old, large and beautiful as this one that was just removed on Darlington Rd.

36-inch Hardwood

We have more information about trees on these pages: Trees & Plants, Tree Size and Age and Special Trees, and we’ll have a follow-up post with more things we can do to protect trees.

The video below shows just some of the wildlife that, in one way or another, depend on trees.  If the trees leave, so do they.  Maybe the wildlife affected by the current habitat destruction will move into your yard where they’ll be safe.

Birds, Bees and Trees

Last month we did a post on Nesters on the Nature Trail and we hope you made it over to see all of the activity for yourself.  If not, be sure to check it out since some of the nesting birds may have a second brood.

Nature Trail ID Cards

Bird ID cards & native bee poster on the Burke Road entrance notice board

ID cards and markers are now available to help you identify birds, native bees and trees and plants while you are there.  Each card has a link to a web page with more information, and more ID cards will be added over time.

The trail is maintained and is currently being improved by volunteers.  See our page on the Peachtree Park Nature Trail for contact information if you’d like to get involved.