Trees in Tyler Park

Hello from the TPNA tree committee. The first answer is, yes, some of us have actually hugged a tree or two. After all they work continuously on our behalf… a little gratitude is in order.

This page is here to tell you about some of the other things we do to show our gratitude, to give you some background on our urban forest, and to connect you to resources that can inform you about trees and their care.

 Things We Do – The Fall Planting

The Metropolitan Sewer District reimburses organizations like TPNA for tree planting expenses, through grants funded by the MSD urban reforestation program. We received our first grant in the fall of 2016, and plan on continuing the effort annually.

TPNA volunteers go door to door to ask property owners if they want a tree planted. Those who do sign an agreement and contribute $25 toward the cost of the tree. In return TPNA arranges permits (if needed), contacts the Before-You-Dig service to check the intended planting location for underground utilities, acquires the tree, and plants it. Each tree is delivered with a watering bag and mulch. The actual planting activities are scheduled for a single day in the fall, which is the best season for tree planting.

Buy a tree to go on your property, contribute to TPNA’s trees activities, or volunteer to work on the activities by sending an email to tylerparktrees@gmail.com. A member of the TPNA Trees Committee will contact you. We need people to distribute marketing materials, to help tree buyers select the right tree for their location, and to pitch in on planting day (October 28 in 2017, with a rain date of November 11).

Things We Do – Tyler Park Cleanups

Its heritage as a landscape planned by Frederick Law Olmsted’s firm means the Tyler Park has a professional organization as its advocate. The Olmsted Parks Conservancy is charged “to restore, enhance and forever protect Louisville’s Olmsted-designed parks and parkways”. As a non-profit organization, the Conservancy relies on volunteer efforts led by trained park stewards.

Contact the Conservancy to volunteer.

 Our Urban Forest

Our neighborhood was part of the great North American forest and kept its trees well into the Nineteenth Century, when the land was cleared for farming. Scraps of the forest persisted into the early Twentieth Century but most of the oldest trees we have now were planted when residential subdivisions replaced the farms a century ago.

The first residents used the trees as boundary markers in the Virginia land grants that defined their properties. For example, William Preston’s Briar Patch plantation was described as:

Beginning at a Hicory & double Box Elder Corner to John Connelly & S 37 E 780 poles with his Line to an Ash on the point of a Hill near the South fork of Beargrass Creek N 53 E 205 to a black Walnut N 37 W 780 poles to a Sycamore on the Ohio thence down the Meanders of the River to the Beginning.

The Briar Patch included almost all of our neighborhood west of Baxter Avenue, and part of it still had old growth trees until the early 1900’s. Called Christy’s Woods, then Schwartz’s Woods, the old growth area was bought by General John Breckinridge Castleman in 1892 for use as his summer home. It became his main residence while he was guiding the development of the parks and parkways in the new streetcar suburbs, riding out through the Tyler Park site to conduct his early morning inspections. He eventually developed the area as the Castlewood subdivision.

Subdivisions like Castlewood considered trees an important selling point. For example, the 1916 sales brochure for Windsor Place stressed the “beautiful maple trees [that] were planted in the grass-plot on either side of the street“. Some of them are still providing wonderful shade today.

Unfortunately, the surviving maples are just a small portion of the original plantings. Cities are a challenging environment for trees, even without the effects of climate change. Windsor Place was particularly hard hit by Ike, the massive windstorm that swept across the Midwest in 2008 and by the Ohio Valley ice storm the following year. Other tree species are suffering losses to insect infestations and disease. As a result, the Louisville Urban Tree Canopy Assessment released in March, 2015 reported that Tyler Park had the second-highest loss of neighborhood urban tree canopy within the old city boundaries of Louisville between 2004 and 2012. We lost 24% of our canopy, going from an 48% to 37%.

So we are fighting back. New maples were planted on Windsor, and various initiatives were launched by TPNA, including various efforts to plant trees in the park and a campaign funded by grants from the Metropolitan Sewer District to plant trees for homeowners and businesses. Refer to What We Do topics on this page for overviews.

Resources

The following links will help you find information about trees (and other growing things).

Check back here from time to time. The Trees Committee will be adding links as we find them.

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