North Carolina Tree City USA communities working hard to preserve city trees, improve urban forests

RALEIGH, NC (April 30, 2021) — In 2020, 83 North Carolina communities earned Tree City USA designations, and 12 college and university campuses earned Tree Campus Higher Education designations. Five utilities earned Tree Line USA designations for 2021, based on activities completed in 2020. The N.C. Forest Service is proud to celebrate these communities, colleges and universities, and public and private utilities that make the commitment to improving care of city trees critical for protecting urban tree canopy cover.

“The urban forestry achievements of our communities are deserving of recognition because the hard work and sweat equity citizens put into planting and caring for trees will ensure our neighborhoods can become even cooler, cleaner and greener in the future,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

Tree City USA, Tree Line USA and Tree Campus Higher Education recognitions are achieved by meeting similar program requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

“In addition to our 83 Tree Cities, six communities earned Tree City USA Growth Awards. Achieving any of these significant recognitions reaffirms a community’s commitment to not just healthy urban tree canopy but also to tree preservation, increased property values, clean air and water, management of stormwater runoff, and an overall better quality of life for us and future generations,” said Jennifer Rall, an urban forestry specialist with the N.C. Forest Service. “We thank our Tree City USA communities and are proud to support their efforts.”

The N.C. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry program oversees the application and award process for Tree City USA, Tree Campus Higher Education, and Tree Line USA which are all under the Arbor Day Foundation umbrella. The Tree City USA program provides a framework for building an urban forestry program within a community and working toward sustainable and proactive management of a community’s tree resources. The Tree Campus Higher Education program supports effective tree management at two- and four-year accredited colleges and universities, encouraging best tree management practices on campuses and engaging the student population in the stewardship of campus tree resources. The Tree Line USA program recognizes best practices in public and private utility arboriculture, demonstrating how trees and utilities can coexist for the benefit of communities and citizens.

To learn more about these programs and how your community can participate, visit For a list of communities, campuses and utilities recognized in 2020/2021, visit