The City of Harrisonburg recognizes the value of green infrastructure to our community. Through Harrisonburg's Urban Forestry Program, City staff work to increase tree canopy in Harrisonburg improving the air we breathe, reducing urban noise, filtering our water, helping control stormwater runoff, providing shade and habitat for a wide variety of living things, and enhaning the beauty our urban landscapes.
To manage and improve the City’s Urban Forests, the Public Works Department utilizes the skills of five certified arborists on staff, three of which are International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ).
Since 2018, staff have been very busy adjusting to the effects the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) on ash trees in Harrisonburg. Harrisonburg removed a significant amount of ash in Harrisonburg and treated some ash through the Department of Forestry’s Cost Share Program.
Learn how Harrisonburg adjusted to the EAB and how staff have been proactive in preserving dwindling ash wood.
Harrisonburg’s Urban Forestry Management Plan
The City of Harrisonburg has a vision that its urban forest is safe, efficient to maintain, complements its development goals, delivers equitable benefits, and enhances the character and livability of the city. To accomplish goals to realize this vision, a comprehensive urban forest management plan is required. This plan was developed to assist Harrisonburg to better understanding its urban forest’s composition, structure, and tree maintenance needs as well as plan for both short-term and long-term resource allocation and develop risk management strategies. The City is working through a Urban Forestry Managment plan that was created in 2021, planting a diverse selection of trees not exceeding 10% of each species, one of the primary goals of the nine action steps found in the plan. Staff plants and maintains an average of 300 trees annualy in the City.
Tree Care and Maintenance In Your Own Yard
- Looking to plant trees in your yard? Check out the City's HCAP (Harrisonburg Conservation Assistance Program)! HCAP is a cost share reimbursement program aimed at assisting eligible landowners with their stormwater concerns. HCAP will pay 100% of your estimated cost up to $3,500 to plant new or replant lost trees! More information may be found on our HCAP webpage.
- Contact your Harrisonburg City Arborists for tree care recommendations by emailing Jeremy.Harold@harrisonburgva.gov
Hiring an Arborist
- Find a Certified Arborist for a Tree Risk Assessment in Your Yard on the MAC-ISA Good Tree Care website
- Virginia Cooperative Extension - Hiring an Arborist to Care for Your Landscape Trees [593KB]
Tree Planting and Care
- A Year of Total Tree Care - Visual Aid Coming Soon!
- US Department of Agriculture Forestry Service - Tree Owners Manual
What Not to Do
- Trees Virginia - Experts Agree, Don't Top Your Tree Brochure
- Ways to Kill A Tree Poster (& How Not to Kill a Tree) [1.17MB]
Urban Forestry & Urban Wood Program Resources
The City of Harrisonburg focuses on the care and management of trees and tree populations for the purpose of improving our urban environment. Efforts and city projects relating to urban forestry advocates the role of trees as a critical part of Harrisonburg's urban infrastructure. Participation with local related organizations and current efforts within the city include:
- Virginia Urban Wood Group
- Tree City USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation
- Participation with the Virginia Big Tree Program and Remarkable Trees Program
- Participation in projects with the Department of Forestry
- Blacks Run Clean Up Day Event and Green Scene
- Tree Canopy Studies
- Emerald Ash Borer Public Education and Ash Tree Management
- Harrisonburg Public Works and Stormwater Projects
- Care and Maintenance of Current Public Trees
- Virginia Urban Wood Group
- Harrisonburg Urban Wood Program Video "Out of the Ashes"
- Society of American Foresters - Forest Proud - Urban Wood. Recover. Regrow video
- Society of American Foresters - Forest Proud - Urban Wood for People + Planet video
- Department of Forestry's Cost Share Program
- Harrisonburg's Public Surplus website
- Tree City USA
- Department of Forestry Story Map "Emerald Ash Borer Program"
- Department of Forestry EAB Cost Share Program
- Trees Virginia Urban Forest Council
- Virginia Big Tree Program and Remarkable Trees Program
Feature Articles and Media Coverage
- The Breeze "Harrisonburg Urban Forestry Program leaps forward with fall tree planting"
- Virginia Department of Forestry and Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Urban Wood Video "Out of the Ashes"
- Virginia Department of Forestry "Trees with A Future"
- Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance "Local Ash Tree Finds New Home in HDR Office"
- WHSV "Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance gives ash trees new life"
- Virginia Department of Forestry Story Map "Emerald Ash Borer Program"
- Urban Trees in the Age of the Emerald Ash Borer and Felled Documentary Event
- The Breeze "Harrisonburg, VDOF begin ash borer treatment program"
For more information on Harrisonburg Public Works' urban wood utilization efforts contact Jeremy.Harold@HarrisonburgVA.gov.