MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - If you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of trees in Memphis.
That’s where urban foresters come in. They’re tree experts that specialize in city environments.
Wesley Hopper, what’s in a name? He’s been hopping and climbing into Memphis trees for 35 years.
What’s that on his shoulder? A lorax tattoo. He’s an urban forester, something Memphis needs.
Hopper gives a simple explanation as to how Memphis became an urban forest.
“Trees were planted in the front yards and back yards and that’s how we became such a forested city,” Hopper said.
Simple or not, it gives him an important job to do.
“Physically pruning the trees or removing the trees for safety. Also, educating the public on the need for the care of the trees,” Hopper said.
Branches can easily fall on cars, houses and even people if not properly cared for. Wesley showed what we should be looking for.
“You look for defects, you look for this bug. This is a plant bug. You can see fruiting bodies of fungus that are growing,” Hopper said.
Those were just a few defects, as he called them, pointed out on a tree at the Memphis Botanic Garden. In general, Hopper says trees in forests can take care of themselves; they have to.
In a city, it’s different.
“In the city where there are so many people like us around the tree, build our houses around it, park our cars on top of it, we mow the grass steadily compacting that soil. Everything from underground to the top of the tree we have to monitor,” Hopper said.
If you’re interested in becoming an Urban Forest Advisor, a class is scheduled at Memphis Botanic Garden Wednesday September 5.