Wilmington Tree Commission

The Wilmington Tree Commission promotes and endorses programs and policies to support our Urban Forest, increase public education, and establish awards and recognition programs as incentives to encourage a healthy and attractive natural environment for the City of Wilmington.


Members of the Wilmington Tree Commission are appointed by the Wilmington City Council to serve three (3) year terms. Members can expected to spend approximately three (3) hours monthly for the regularly scheduled meeting of this commission.

The twelve (12) member commission is comprised of:

  • Seven (7) voting City residents appointed by the City Council;
  • Two (2) voting at large members appointed by the City Council;
  • One (1) each assigned from Development Services and Public Services or Community Services Departments;
  • One (1) urban arborist preferably assigned from the Public Services Department or Community Services Department and if none, one (1) to be appointed by the Council members.

Current Members

Thomas Boland
Term Expiration: 06/18/2026

Peter Watkins
Term Expiration: 06/18/2024

Rainey Wallace
Term Expiration: 06/18/2025

Bridget Callahan
Term Expiration: 06/18/2027

James Gregory
Term Expiration: 06/18/2024

Cathey Luna
Term Expiration: 06/18/2025

Alana Seaman
Term Expiration: 06/18/2026

Andrew Blank
Term Expiration: 06/18/2025

Catherine Cardamone
Term Expiration: 06/18/2026

Haley Hopkins
Planning and Development
Term Expiration: N/A

Sally Thigpen
Community Services
Term Expiration: N/A

Aaron Reese
Forestry Management Supervisor
Term Expiration: N/A

Meeting Information


Month Date Time
January 1/17 9:30 - 11:00 am
February 2/21 9:30 - 11:00 am
March 3/20 9:30 - 11:00 am
April 4/17 9:30 - 11:00 am
May 5/15 9:30 - 11:00 am
June 6/12 9:30 - 11:00 am
July N/A
August 8/21 9:30 - 11:00 am
September 9/18 9:30 - 11:00 am
October 10/16 9:30 - 11:00 am
November 11/20 9:30 - 11:00 am
December N/A


2024 Agendas

 2024 Approved Minutes

To access the full meeting archives, click here.

Heritage Tree Program

What is the Heritage Tree Program?

The Heritage Tree Program is dedicated to the identification and preservation of heritage trees within the City of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Heritage trees are those, which because of their age, rarity, grouping, overall beauty or historical significance represent an important aspect of the City’s history or natural landscape.

Objectives of the Program

  • Identify and catalog “Heritage” trees within the City of Wilmington. 
  • To increase public awareness and appreciation of the value of Heritage and other trees that may add to the beauty and ecology of the City’s natural and urban landscape.

Heritage Tree Selection

The City’s Urban Arborist and members of the Wilmington Tree Commission are responsible for setting specific criteria for designation, receiving nominations, maintaining the program’s database and providing appropriate recognition to heritage tree owners. Nominations and selections are reported at regular monthly meetings of the Tree Commission.

Heritage Tree Categories and Criteria

To be considered for Heritage status, a nomination for the tree must be submitted to the Tree Commission with approval of the owner. Trees can be nominated as an individual or a collection. Final selection is determined by the Heritage Trees Committee based on specific criteria as well as recommendations of professional arborists or foresters. Heritage Tree status is granted if the tree meets any or all of the following criteria:

Specimen: A tree of exceptional size, form, or rarity. 

  • Size:
    • A nominated tree that has a point total that meets or exceeds 75% of the current NC Champion tree’s point total. Point totals are determined by this equation:
      [vertical height + trunk circumference (4.5 ft. above ground) +avg. crown spread = point total]
    • Any tree with a trunk diameter measured at breast height (dbh) of at least 36 inches.
  • Form or rarity:
    • The tree is an outstanding specimen of exemplary form for the species;
    • The tree is one of the largest or oldest trees in Wilmington as compared to others of its species;
    • The tree is of distinctive form an unusual species for the area, or is otherwise unique;
    • Any tree or grove of trees that have horticultural significance, including but not limited to those which are:

Historic: A tree recognized by virtue of its association with or contribution to a historic structure or district, or its association with a noted person or historic event.

  • The tree has a documented association with an historical event important to the City or region;
  • Any tree or grove of trees which have historical significance, including but not limited to those which were/are:
    • Planted as a commemorative;
    • Planted during a particularly significant historical era or event; or
    • Marking the spot of a historical event.
  • The tree was standing at the home of a person who played a role in Wilmington’s history as a leader, writer or other significant contributor; or
  • The tree is illustrated in historical sketches, journals, photographs, or writings, related to a historic event.


  • at landmarks of the City, a neighborhood, or community;
  • Trees that mark a special site location


  • Trees in a notable or significant grove, avenue, or other planting.
  • Trees that provide a valuable habitat

Heritage Tree Applications are open! The deadline is December 2024

You can fill out an application for your tree to be considered here.

Heritage Tree Program applicants whose trees met the measurement or historical criteria from 2020-2023 will be awarded and recognized at a City Council meeting in March.


Aaron Reese, City Arborist
1702 Burnett Blvd
Wilmington, NC  28401

Legacy Trees Program

In partnership with the Alliance for Cape Fear Trees, the Wilmington Tree Commission offers a tree planting in honor of a loved one or to celebrate a special occasion with a donation. A Legacy Tree can be planted along a city street or in a local park. These donations are tax-deductible. A Legacy Tree is a beautiful way to remember a loved one or to commemorate an event.

For more information or to purchase a Legacy Tree please visit the Alliance for Cape Fear Trees site or email allianceforcapefeartrees@gmail.com.

Suggested Tree Species

  • Live Oak 
  • Shumard Oak  
  • Zelkova 
  • Dogwood 
  • Red Bud 
  • Purple Leaf Plum 
  • Snow Goose Cherry

Trees and the Land Development Code

The Land Development Code (LDC) is a document of rules and procedures for development projects that is used by the Planning and Development Department to evaluate projects proposed throughout the City. Within the LDC, there are regulations for tree removal, planting and retention with the intention of preserving the current tree canopy. The "Tree Preservation" subsection of the code can be found in the "Site Development Requirements" section or at the link below.

Tree Preservation in the LDC

Tree Resources