J.P. Hart (left), a forestry technician for Fort Campbell’s Directorate of Public Works, teaches Blaine Lynch, a civil engineer for DPW, how to plant a bare root seedling during a training session Nov. 20 outside Fort Campbell’s Forestry Department building.

Fort Campbell will plant 1,000 trees through February in several locations around the installation as part of the Tennessee Environmental Council’s 250K Tree Day.

“There is an initiative in the state of Tennessee to plant 250,000 trees on Feb. 23,” said Scott Osborne, supervisory forester with Fort Campbell Directorate of Public Works’ Forestry Department. “What we’ve done is we’ve set ourselves a goal to plant up until that date. The reason we’re doing that is because the ideal time to plant a tree is in the dormancy stage which is the fall and the winter before spring green.”

Osborne said some trees will be planted in specific locations for specific purposes including prevention of soil erosion.

“A lot of the places we’re planting trees are in low-lying areas,” Osborne said. “We’ve selected trees that function really well in the low-lying areas to absorb [water]. We’re going to plant over 40 cyprus trees in some of the basins around division headquarters area. Trees are going to help a lot with shading sunshine and water absorption. A lot of areas you see that are green spaces on the installation used to be [the location of] a building.”

“There’s some hard ground underneath there and trees will help with that.”

Osborne said other trees will be planted to beautify the installation.

“The purpose of [tree planting at T.C. Freeman Gate] is to provide a pleasing and aesthetic entry onto the installation,” Osborne said. “So those trees are going to be a mix of oak. Along the Harper village trail … the purpose of those plantings is to provide the folks walking on the trail with an interpretive kind of experience. So there’ll be a lot of different trees and they’ll be able to see different varieties of hickories, different varieties of maples, different varieties of fruiting trees, just to allow for a different experience for folks.”

Osborne said a great deal of planning and coordination has gone into future tree sites.

“We’re looking to put two trees in the ground for every tree we’ve removed,” Osborne said. “We’ve removed a lot of trees … because they were in conflict. They were in utility lines, or over someone’s house, or they were just the wrong tree in the wrong place. So what we’re trying to do is put the right tree in the right place. We’ve spent a lot of effort doing that. Planning and figuring out where utilities, future projects, where we’re going to build, what’s going to be there in twenty years. We’re putting a tree in the ground now and we have an expectation of it living a long, long time. So we don’t want to put it in the wrong spot. We want to put it in the right spot, and it stays there.”

Types of saplings

Osborne said there are two types of trees being planted.

“We’re going to plant approximately 600 ball and burlap trees, which are going to be 1 to 2-inch diameter trees,” Osborne said. “Then we’re going to have a volunteer effort to plant 400 bare root seedlings.”

Osborne said the ball and burlap trees are being planted by government contractors while the bare root seedlings will be planted in February by volunteers.

“Where we’re planting the ball and burlap trees, we’re looking for a little quicker return on the investment,” Osborne said. “We’re wanting to see something more established in place.”

Osborne said contractors are being used to plant the ball and burlap trees because they are challenging to plant.

“When we’re talking about the volunteer effort, it’s much easier for a volunteer to plant a bare root seedling,” Osborne said. “It allows them to touch the tree and have a part in digging the hole. If you had a couple of kids and they were trying to dig a hold for a ball and burlap tree, they would be really tired by the time they got the hole dug and they’d plant one tree. The ball [is] about a two or three gallon ball, and you’re moving all that dirt out, and you have to get the tree set the right way, and then you’re putting the tree back in, and then they mulch around the tree, and they put a protector on it, it’s a job. It would take a lot of time for somebody who isn’t a professional to plant a ball and burlap tree the right way. [The bare root trees] are a little more forgiving. It’s a more interactive activity than the ball and burlap. The ball and burlap has a lot of shovel work involved.”


Osborne said the contractors are already at work planting the first trees.

“They’re working on [T.C. Freeman Gate],” Osborne said. “The next place they’re going to go is the Town Center. That’s a split project. You’ll see some of that around the commissary and [the garrison headquarters] and around Dreyer Field House. And then you’ll see the activity around the division headquarters and by the [main Exchange]. There’s already stakes in the ground everywhere we’re going to plant ball and burlap trees. So folks will see those pine stakes in the ground, that’s what they’re for. There will be trees going in at that location.”

Osborne said in addition to T.C. Freeman Gate and Town Center, the division parade field and Harper Village Trail will receive ball and burlap trees.

“The spacing is related to the site that it’s on,” Osborne said. “In areas where we feel like there’s a good chance of survivability and we want to have a more dense population, they’re a little closer. But you’re not going to see any trees generally any closer than 20 feet, and that would be if they’re small ornamental trees. Most of your distances you’ll see will be 40 feet. And that varies by where it is in relation to utilities, power lines, road access, buildings and things like that. So we’ve got some constraints to work along there with in regards to how we do business on the installation and how we manage where we plant trees.”

Osborne said the volunteers will be planting trees in parks on Fort Campbell.

“The dog parks are both going to get volunteer planting efforts,” Osborne said. “So there will be a big effort at the dog parks as well as Wilkes park at gate 6, as well as the park that is located in Clarksville base near [52nd Ordnance Group].”

Volunteers wanted

Marsha Lopez, a management analyst for DPW, is a member of the planning board and is coordinating the volunteer effort.

“We welcome single volunteers, groups, and Families,” Lopez said.

Children younger than 18 years of age must have adult supervision.

Lopez said the volunteers can pick a day or days Feb. 9-23.

“We definitely need [the volunteers] to let us know [what days they are available to plant trees],” Lopez said. “They can email me or call me, and I will put them on our calendar tentatively. We can adjust things according to the needs of the volunteers if they have to go left or right with the days because of weather or if their numbers drop or grow. Then we’ll take that group of volunteers. If it’s just Families coming, we put them in a group. Then we assign a location like the dog park. We will give them an address in which to park and we will have an expert onsite to explain how to do it. The expert as well as somebody signing [the volunteers] in will stay there, help them and guide them. It’s really going to be Family oriented where a mom and dad can go, the parents use the dibble bar and the child can plant it and then they will wrap it with a wire mesh and stake it to the ground.”

Lopez said after the trees are planted, volunteers can help the welfare of the trees.

“We also will need assistance to ensure that the saplings planted survive their first six months, so we are asking volunteers to adopt the saplings,” Lopez said. “This basically means that they will check on them once a month to ensure they are surviving. We will provide experts to help adopting volunteers with any questions afterward to improve chances of their sapling becoming a healthy and vital part of the Fort Campbell community. We will give adopting volunteers a business card sized adoption certificate, letting them know the type of tree they are adopting, and a place in which they can write in the sapling’s GPS locations, so they can find it in the future.”

Lopez said volunteers also will be given a patch that can be sewn onto clothing or bags.

“The patch … is a unique design created for Fort Campbell. We hope that the patch will help commemorate the day of tree planting for volunteers and serve as a billboard for next year’s volunteers.”

Lopez is very excited for volunteers to take part in the event.

“I think it’s going to be a wonderful event, I really do,” Lopez said. “The community involvement is the key. You come out and plant something with your child. It kind of gives you hope for the future.”

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Lopez at 270-798-3913 or at