Robert Udashen prepared for his new arrival, a tree, as he pulled up for collection.
“Today, I’m receiving a Virginia pine,” Udashen said. This is one of many trees he’s adopted over the past few years from Asheville Greenworks. The organization grows 2,500 trees each year. Asheville Greenworks’ goal is to restore the tree canopy, which was diminished due to urban development in the area.
In 2019, Asheville Greenworks partnered with the City of Asheville, Davey Tree, the Urban Forestry Commission and NASA Develop on an urban tree canopy study. The study concluded that over the span of 10 years, Asheville experienced a 6.4% tree canopy loss, which equates to 891 acres of trees.
Udashen has seen changes in his own neighborhood. “It’s a new neighborhood and a lot of trees have been lost to new construction, and so it’s been important for me and some of my neighbors to replace the trees that have been cut down for new homes,” Udashen said. He’s putting in the effort to bring some of this nature back with Greenworks. “It’s a very gratifying experience,” Udashen said, when reflecting on his three years of tree adoptions.
When he first began his Greenworks journey, he took a tree-planting class that would help the process go as smoothly as possible. “You have to dig a hole bigger than this root to put it in,” Udashen said, as he pointed to the roots of the Virginia pine. “You don’t want to plant it too deep.” The growth doesn’t always pan out as expected.
“These are ones that the deer ate,” Udashen said. “Some of these little stumps.” He’s going to continue planting and continue learning each year. “That’s why I decided to do this evergreen, because I believe the deer won’t eat it!” Udashen said.
The Greenworks public native tree adoption events are held twice a year, and the next one is set for spring.