If you have been keeping up with Green River Botanicals for the past year, you’ll know how much we value the environment and do our best to be good stewards of the land. You may also know that trees have a special place in our hearts, which is why we donate a tree for each product sold.

This past summer, we heard some news that inspired us to get involved with a local public park. Back in July several trees were vandalized at Alexander River Park in Buncombe County. This wasn’t just some kids carving their names into trees, but full bark-removal, probably by people using it for furniture or other similar means of profit. Mature tulip poplars were stripped of their bark, likely with a mechanical saw. 

Tulip poplars are the tallest hardwood trees in North America, and they often have perfectly straight trunks. A mature tulip poplar can grow 70-90 feet tall, and the older they get, the more massive their trunks become. This makes them incredibly important to the surrounding ecosystem. These trees provide food for many animals throughout the year- their spring flowers feed ruby-throated hummingbirds, and in the fall and winter these trees are browsed by white-tailed deer and rabbits. Year round they help prevent flooding and bank erosion near the river. 

When trees are damaged this way, with the bark stripped more than half its circumference, it almost always kills the tree. Trees have a layer of tissue just below the bark responsible for carrying nutrients from photosynthesis from the leaves to the roots, so when that tissue is exposed or damaged, the trees essentially begin to starve.

Ultimately, the tulip poplars at Alexander River Park had to be removed, and when we got wind of the issue we offered to replace them. This allowed the park to preserve the natural beauty and ecosystem of this public outdoor space, and continue to protect the park from erosion around the river bank. It also meant that taxpayers didn’t have to pay for the actions of the people responsible for stripping the trees.

We are so happy we got to be a part of this project, and give a giant shout out to Brad Martin and Chris Norquist who delivered and planted the trees!  We will continue to do everything we can to preserve our natural spaces locally and globally. If you have a tree planting project please reach out to us.

Read More about the tree replacement project at: