Renewing your TRAQ

By Jimmy Walters, ISA TRAQ Instructor

The ISA’s Tree Risk Assessment Qualification is a five-year qualification, beginning with the date of completing the TRAQ course and passing the test.  After five years the qualification expires and must be renewed.  Last year the ISA announced the implementation of a renewal option of a one-day refresher course, followed by the same two-part test.  Those who wish to repeat the entire course may do so, but the one-day option offers a considerable saving in time and expense.

Anyone with the TRAQ qualification may take the renewal course at any time within the 18 months prior to the expiration of their qualification.  After successfully completing the renewal course and test, the arborist’s renewed qualification is good for five years past the original expiration date.  There is no grace period for renewal after the expiration date, so those who fail to renew before their qualification expires will need to take the whole 2 ½ day course and test again.

TRAQ renewal course dates and locations will be posted on the ISA web site, and any in or near SC will be announced through TREES SC and the ISA Southern Chapter.

For more information on TRAQ renewal, call Jimmy Walters at (864) 992-0252 or email at

Tree Canopy and Stormwater Project in Charleston, SC

By Frances Waite, SCFC


Public meeting to discuss Charleston project

Rapid urbanization and climatic fluctuations have led to increased risk of flooding and degraded water quality in cities. Trees can be utilized as a key strategy for addressing this problem. Trees intercept, store and transpire stormwater and are a vital tool in abating and cleaning stormwater runoff. One urban tree can intercept thousands of gallons of water annually.  But while the benefits of trees are well known, most cities do not include trees as a component of their stormwater management strategies.

The City of Charleston is one of thirteen southern localities undertaking a project to link urban tree canopy to stormwater mitigation, specifically for cities with Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permits to manage stormwater.  The project is helping southern cities utilize their urban forests to better manage and reduce stormwater runoff.  Urban trees soak up tremendous volumes of stormwater.  The more treed the landscape, the less runoff and flooding may occur.  This project will assess the city’s tree canopy and determine its role for treating and absorbing stormwater.

The primary outcome is a process for integrating trees into the City’s stormwater management program. Ultimately, Charleston will have a more strategic and effective process for combating stormwater runoff.

Project partners include the City of Charleston, The South Carolina Forestry Commission and The Green Infrastructure Center (GIC).  The project is funded by the SC Forestry Commission under a grant from the USDA Forest Service and matched in-kind through participation by the City. GIC is providing the technical support and project management. More information about GIC is available at

City agencies involved on the Project’s Technical Review Committee include Information Technology and Geographic Information Services; Parks and Urban Forestry; Planning, Preservation and Sustainability; and Public Service and Stormwater Management.  Staff from these departments formed a technical review committee, advising the GIC and coordinating Charleston community events.

As part of the project, Charleston will receive:

  • Updated tree canopy and impervious land cover map used to map current canopy and analyze runoff, stormwater benefits and potential for mitigating stormwater.
  • Potential planting areas map (digital GIS) used for strategic planning to set future canopy goals.
  • Codes and Ordinance Audit for urban trees to facilitate better management and care.
  • Workshops with local committees to provide education and solicit input.
  • Model ordinance language or other program/policy documents for using trees to meet stormwater regulations.
  • Written step-by-step- strategy and methodology for linking urban forest systems to urban MS4 requirements for each of the specific partner city(s).
  • Case study of the project suitable for sharing at workshops, with elected and appointed officials and other agencies and stakeholders.

In addition to the outcomes listed above, by better evaluating and planning for its trees, Charleston will also realize other ‘ecosystem services’ of the urban forest such as cleaner water, air, aesthetic values, open space, walkable and bikable streets, safer pathways, improved climate for businesses and better real estate values.

The project began November 1, 2016 and the estimated completion is December 2017.

2016 Annual Report

2016 Annual Report

Mission Statement:  Trees SC is a non-profit organization that fosters the stewardship of our state’s urban and community forests through education, advocacy, and network.

 Executive Committee Officers:
President – Drew Smith                                  Vice President – Brad Farmer
Treasurer – Mike Russell                                Secretary – Rachel d’Entremont
Advisor – Lowe Sharpe

Board of Directors  – Clark Beavans, Danny Burbage, Whitt Cline, Matt Clinton, Lois Edwards, Amanda Flake, Tim Gillette, Danny Jones, Tom Knowles, Luther Marchant, Scott Park, Derrick Phinney, Mike Russell, Terry Smith, Carroll Williamson, Eddie Bernard (ex-officio), Donna Foster (ex-officio), Bob Polomski (ex-officio)

Executive Director– Karen Hauck

Membership – 385 members:  89 Corporate, 123 Governmental, 164 Individuals, 9 Non-Profit



  • Published and electronically distributed 4 issues of The Acorn, Volume 26 (spring, summer, fall and winter)
  • Hosted the South Carolina Arborist Workshop: Insects and Disease on March 3, 2016.  The workshop had 90 people in attendance, and was sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts, Carolina Tree Care, CSX, Duke Energy, Lewis Tree Service, SCE&G, Schneider Tree Care, Sox & Freeman, and the S.C. Forestry Commission.
  • Hosted the South Carolina Arborist Workshop for practicing arborists. The workshop, which was held on September 15, 2016 at Harbison State Forest, had 80 people in attendance and was sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts, Carolina Tree Care, CSX, Duke Energy, Lewis Tree Service, SCE&G, Schneider Tree Care, Sox & Freeman, and the S.C. Forestry Commission.
  • Partnered with ISA Southern Chapter to host the South Carolina Tree Climbing Academy in Irmo on May 23, 2016. Ten climbers attended the workshop, led by instructors from North American Training Solutions.
  • Hosted a Canopy Session in Hartsville, SC on May 5, 2016. The program presented information on site preparation, nursery stock, proper pruning techniques, and an overview of Tree City USA. Twenty-six people attended the program.
  • Hosted the workshop Designing Infrastructure for Urban Tree Sustainability on June 21, 2016 in Columbia. Forty-two people attended the program.
  • In partnership with TreesGreenville, launched Tree Keepers, a community-based program designed to educate community members about the value of trees and proper tree care. Eleven people participated in the 6-week course.
  • Hosted the Annual Conference at Folly Beach, SC on October 27-28, 2016.  Major conference sponsors included Bartlett Tree Experts, Carolina Tree Care, CSX, Duke Energy, Lewis Tree Service, SCE&G, Schneider Tree Care, Sox & Freeman, and the S.C. Forestry Commission.
  • Celebrated Trees SC’s 25th anniversary with special celebrations held throughout the state:  Columbia, Clemson University, Moore Farms Botanical Garden, and the Angel Oak.

Number of individuals reached through education programs: 1,553
Number of communities reached through education programs: 71
Number of South Carolina counties served:  35


  • Presented the 2016 Heritage Tree Award to the Augusta Circle Elementary American Elm (Greenville)
  • Awarded the 2016 Golden Acorn Award to Nate Dubosh (MUSC)


  • Contracted with KBH Solutions, LLC to provide executive director services
  • Developed and administered a fiscally responsible budget for the organization
  • Contracted with the accounting firm Burkett, Burkett & Burkett in Rock Hill, South Carolina to file the organization’s IRS Form 990
  • Applied for and received a 2016 grant from the S.C. Forestry Commission
  • Provided financial assistance for individuals to attend the 2016 Trees SC Annual Conference
  • 2016 Corporate Sponsors:
    SUSTAINING PARTNERS:  Bartlett Tree Experts, Carolina Tree Care, CSX, Duke Energy, and Schneider Tree Care
    PLATINUM LEVEL:  Lewis Tree Service and Sox & Freeman


Annual Members Meeting: – The last members’ meeting was held on October 27, 2016 at Folly Beach, SC.

Board of Directors Meetings:
February 4, 2016 – Wampee, S.C.
February 4-5, 2016 Annual Retreat – Wampee, S.C.
April 21, 2016 – S.C. Forestry Commission Headquarters
July 21, 2016 – S.C. Forestry Commission Headquarters
October 26, 2016- Folly Beach, SC



On the Stump: Winter 2017

By Danny Burbage


There are Arbor Days and there are Arbor Days. In my years as a city arborist, I’ve been witness to 33 of them (just under half my life). Some celebrations produced large crowds; others were smaller, more intimate affairs. Some kicked off large streetscape projects or park renovations. A few Arbor Day celebrations were designed to bring notice to an underserved neighborhood while others offered complement to an affluent one. Politics was the theme of some like one where we planted trees near a bridge that connected our city with a town we had been feuding with for decades. Mayors of the two municipalities signaled a new cooperation by planting trees together.

Sincerity and simplicity were in the air this year, and those feelings produced an Arbor Day unique among the others. We did not invite the public and the mayor did not offer comments. A few park patrons stopped to watch the crew planting but moved on after a few minutes. One toddler was especially impressed with the process and the symbolism of his youth was silently noted but, mostly, it was just our staff in attendance. Know what? I’ll remember this Arbor Day as readily as any other because it was so unadorned and comfortable. We engaged in the simple act of planting trees. It was a quiet, peaceful moment; an indulgence, actually, because we gave the moment to ourselves. We planted and did not worry about putting on a show for others.

Battered first, by Hurricane Matthew and later by Tropical Storm Irma, two formidable Eastern Red Cedar trees now posed a public risk and had to be removed. These two had become favorite friends of mine and the City Horticulturalist, who also serves as the primary manager of the large park where the trees lived. She and I conspired to replace them and agreed that planting two new Cedars was a great way to celebrate Arbor Day.

The new trees were welcomed into their new home with soil, water and smiles. No speeches, no pomp, no circumstance… no poems. Well, maybe some of us listened to our favorite inner poems. Some may have offered a silent prayer. This was a quiet event; maybe contemplative but mostly a slightly reverent recognition of our friendship with trees and our awe and appreciation of the natural world.

I took a walk in
The woods and
Came out taller
Than the trees.

-Henry David Thoreau                                                                      

Passport to Trees: Greenville

By Clark Beavans

Drew Smith, Superintendent of Beautification/City Arborist with the City of Greenville, former board member and past President of Trees SC, has his hands full: he supervises 12 employees responsible for tree planting and maintenance projects, and the projects seem to reproduce like swamp rabbits.  He loves his job.  Indeed, the City of Greenville seems flush with tree-love, enhanced by the synergy that comes from serendipitous confluence of circumstance:  Greenville’s temperate upstate climate and near-mountain location, the progressive nature of Greenville’s business and government leadership, the expanding cultural and artistic community, the quality of outdoor recreation, sports, and education in the region, the financial support for tree planting by the Greenville Tree Foundation, and the regional arboricultural advocacy and activism by the local nonprofit Trees Greenville. That, by anybody’s standard, is a lot to love!

Visitors and locals revere the iconic tree-lined Main Street corridor in downtown Greenville.  Mature trees dominate this vibrant retail setting like no other downtown I can think of, a priceless asset but also a continual source of arboricultural challenges to overcome (think root/sidewalk conflicts, tree/utility conflicts, visibility issues with signs, etc.).  In the early 2000s the City began addressing some obvious problems with inappropriate species and limited root volumes by removing and replacing some troubled trees with species better suited to the situation, while also removing and reconstructing the sidewalks and paved areas near the trees with engineered solutions that provided much more soil volume and less soil compaction to improve the root spaces for these trees.

Even the tougher oaks received some attention near the root flare, where the tree grates were constricting buttress roots, and these critical areas were improved enough to abate the conflict and improve the physical support environment.  Providing adequate and appropriate rooting environment can be quite a challenge to reconcile with some of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, notes Drew.  Indeed, the City of Greenville has enlisted renowned landscape architect James Urban to consult on these issues.  Due to the expense and long term nature of both the problems and the solutions, the City elected to stage the work over a period of years, and as a result the Main Street corridor has been almost completely rehabbed, a step at a time, year by year.

One of the primary advantages of a municipality with their own in-house tree crew is flexibility; but this can also be a challenge when crews are asked to accomplish non-arboricultural tasks in addition to their tree-related responsibilities.  Typically, municipal workers are practical in outlook and flexible in nature, doing whatever management asks, understanding that everything they do makes them more valuable to City management and visible within their community.

“Greenville” actually makes an appropriate moniker for this robust upstate SC City, considering their remarkable appreciation of and accommodation for trees. Mark your calendars for a free workshop on Emerald Ash Borer at the City of Greenville’s new Public Works facility on January 11, 2018.


When the Acorn fell from the tree…

Back in 1992, we published our first newsletter.  At the time, it didn’t have a name, but it was still full of pertinent information and a go-to for the industry.  Twenty-four years and nearly 100 issues later, the Acorn is still growing strong.  We invite you to take a look back at our first issue and reminisce along with us.

The Acorn Issue 1

2017 Corporate Sponsors

We are pleased to announce our 2017 Corporate Sponsors

Sustaining Level:

Duke Energy
Bartlett Tree Experts

Charleston Tree Experts
Schneider Tree Care

Platinum Level:

Carolina Tree Care
Lewis Tree
Sox & Freeman 

For more information on our Corporate Sponsorship Program, please contact our office at (843) 814-4620 or by e-mail at

Trees SC Specialty License Plate On Sale Now


The Trees SC specialty license plate is now on sale!   Designed by Trees SC member Chris Thompson of Nature Form in Spartanburg, this plate perfectly exemplifies the mission of Trees SC- connecting people and trees.  All proceeds from plate sales will help support urban and community forestry programs across South   Carolina.

For an additional $30 (biannually) over the base cost of a standard SC license plate, you can have a license plate which shows your appreciation for trees while at the same time, supports urban and community forestry programs across South Carolina.

You can purchase your Trees SC license plate in one of three ways:

  1. Visit your local DMV office
  2. Submit an application via mail
  3. Visit to order your plate online

Support urban and community forestry in South Carolina and order your plate today!