Let’s Put Tree Into Tree City: We Dig Salisbury 2021

by | Apr 12, 2021 | Greenspace

In celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day, the City of Salisbury Tree Board and Community Appearance Commission (CAC) collaborated in creating We Dig Salisbury 2021. We Dig Salisbury 2019 was a hit! Trees were planted along Innes Street to enhance environmental education efforts and the tree canopy. The city’s urban design planner, Alyssa Nelson states that her inspiration for planning We Dig comes from Community Roots day held in Winston Salem. “Though our event is still finding its form, with Covid we thought it would be best to have more of a tree give-away event this year.” While caution is necessary due to COVID – 19, you can stay in your car during the interactive drive-thru celebration. Due to the Tree Board and CAC’s resiliency and commitment, Salisbury doesn’t have to stop getting greener.

Figure 1.

This family-friendly event is open to the Salisbury community and is scheduled for April 18th from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM at 316 Lake Drive in City park where 110 saplings await their new homes! Tree species include:

  • Bald Cypress
  • Kousa Dogwood
  • Native Dogwood
  • Red Bud
  • Red Oak
  • Sweet Bay

Figure 2. The beautiful flowers & fruits of the selected species for the We Dig Salisbury tree giveaway. These trees possess different environmental needs.

These hard and softwoods provide ample shade to your yard and attract a variety of our native pollinators. This event is a great way for the citizens of Salisbury to support the 35-year reign as Tree City US established by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Trees have different needs to live their best lives based on space, sunlight, and moisture needs. Did you know that the Kousa Dogwood bears sweet fruit when mature and the Bald Cypresses can survive up to 600 years in favorable conditions? It is such a treat to have a wide selection but can be a challenging choice. To help select your ideal sapling, view figure 2 to decide what species will best suit your yard.

Figure 3. We Dig Salisbury 2019. Mark Martin, past city arborist helps community members plant a Weeping Yoshino Cherry. If you look closely, the hole is 2 -3 times as wide as the root ball of the tree.

“2 TO 3”

If you read the title to the beat of 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton, you’re on the right track. Unlike the hours of a normal workday, the sequence “2 to 3” will help distinguish the size of your root system, width, and depth of your hole. Sorry Dolly.

Growing a sapling is a very rewarding experience and is relatively easy with a shovel, some water, and TLC. Stephen Brown, landscape architect and Salisbury city arborist knows of that rewarding experience quite well: “I would love people to care for trees the way I do and get the joy out of watching them grow to maturity over the many years to come.  I started helping my dad in our nursery and landscape business when I was 12 and there are trees that we planted then that are large mature specimens all over Piedmont, NC.” Trees planted by Stephen and his father have contributed to Salisbury’s air quality and aesthetics for years.

Planting your tree in the right spot is the most important step. Being sure to plant your lil’ guy 15 to 20 feet away from your home prevents damage to your foundation when the root system becomes large. If you’ve seen a fallen tree before, large roots protruding from the base of the tree can be visible and really impressive. An easy way to eyeball root spread is to remember roots extend “2 to 3” times the radius of the canopy. The larger the tree, the bigger the roots!

When it is time to dig a spot, consider:

  • the size of the root ball
  • dig “2 to 3” times the size of the root ball
  • place your sapling into the ground leaves side up and root side down
  • water your sapling until the surrounding soil is evenly moist

Make sure to monitor your sapling’s progress, take photos, and post to social media with the #WeDigSalisbury. Also, complete the tree survey by scanning the QR codes provided at the bottom of the page. These efforts are a great way to communicate how the event went for future celebrations and help the Tree Board monitor sapling growth.


In addition to the tree giveaway, members from Bread Riot, Happy Roots, Muddy Sneakers, the Salisbury City Stormwater Team, and Forest Service will be there as educational vendors. Get the chance to learn more about nature and sustainability through the organizations of Rowan County. Stormy the Duck is planning to make an appearance as well, so bring your kiddos! Enter a raffle for a chance to win a basket filled to the brim with gardening essentials, or a tree planted by Godley’s Garden Center & Nursery Inc. at a $225 value! Local art piece “Easy Street” by Sean Meyers, gifted by Fine Frame Gallery will be on display to promote local art and the beauty of a captured moment in Salisbury.


Figure 4. We Dig Salisbury 2019. Muddy Sneakers hosted a hands-on educational booth where animal tracks were discussed.

Lewellen Padgett, a member of CAC looks forward to combining community and tree planting. “We so hope that folks will visit on April 18th, pick up a beautiful tree, buy some raffle tickets for our fabulous raffle items, and keep us posted on their planting and tree growth and progress through #WeDigSalisbury,” Padgett says. “I just have loved everyone coming together to learn about and actually plant trees in our city and neighborhoods.  So many organizations who teach folks about our natural world agree to participate and make the day so informative and Fun!” More details are located on Facebook. Planting a tree now ensures the breath of our future generations.

English Survey

Spanish Survey

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About The Author

Madison Kluge

You might see me on the city of Salisbury’s greenways sporting a pair of rainbow roller skates! I officially graduate(d) May 2021 from the Environment & Sustainability program at Catawba College and I have/will soon take on the role as Salisbury’s Sustainability Coordinator. At Catawba, I researched the Emerald Ash Borer for a couple of years, spearheaded campus composting, and became heavily involved with environmental education planning. My goal as a connector is to establish a non-formal greenspace pedagogy with you and navigate the great outdoors by engaging with a variety of local farmers, NPO’s, parks, trails, preserves, educational institutions, and sustainable events. I will also explore available technologies/ apps that enhance our experience of the great outdoors in plant and animal identification and citizen science initiatives. To my fellow nature and environmental enthusiasts: get to know Rowan County better with me in the evolving greenspaces. Let’s get dirt under our nails!