Louisville’s Battle Against the Tree Deficit

tree_plantingDespite Louisville Metro Government’s efforts to curb the declining tree canopy by planting trees and allocate funding for future plantings and tree care, some city officials are speculating that these efforts alone won’t be enough to help the city meet its goal of increasing the urban tree canopy to 45% over the next 40 years from its current coverage of 37%.

A recent article from the Courier Journal brings to light some of the struggles that Louisville currently faces regarding the tree canopy, in particular the loss of trees due to development and a handful of policy hurdles.

According to Metro officials, much of the power to bolster Louisville’s tree canopy lies in the hands of Louisville’s homeowners:




Fischer administration officials are emphasizing the need for voluntary cooperation from private landowners, who they say control 70 percent of Jefferson County’s trees. “This has to be a much larger community commitment (than just city government),” [Director of Sustainability] Maria Koetter said.

Our work here at TreesLouisville is also mentioned:

“A new nonprofit with high-profile corporate leadership, TreesLouisville, seeks to marshal more private sector funds to further boost the city’s tree canopy, with an initial push this year to bring new trees and all their economic, environmental and social values to some barren Jefferson County Public Schools.”

There is a large amount support for an official tree ordinance, which would outline details about how to regulate tree planting and management within the city. A tree ordinance will also put Louisville on the playing field with other cities who have established ordinances, such as Charlotte and Atlanta.

It’s obvious that the issues facing Louisville’s declining tree canopy are complex, and they are issues that can’t be solved single-handedly. Our city’s trees need support from all sides — public, private, and individual — in order to ensure their (and our!) health and wellbeing for years to come.

Are you interested in helping Louisville’s tree canopy flourish? Here are a number of ways you can get involved:


Take a look at our list of recommended trees, contact MetroCall 311 to request a planting permit from the Division of Community Forestry, and as with any digging project, ALWAYS contact BUD (811) before planting.

Plenty of fantastic information about tree planting can be found at the International Society of Arboriculture or the Arbor Day Foundation. You are also welcome to contact us with any questions you may have!



There are a number of fantastic organizations that promote tree advocacy in Louisville and offer many opportunities to volunteer:

Louisville Grows

Louisville Olmstead Parks Conservancy


Be sure to check in on our blog for any upcoming opportunities as well.


As a non-profit, TreesLouisville benefits from your donations by being able to fund projects that give back to our community in a big way. To see some of the amazing types of things you could help make happen, check out our Projects page.