Hemlock tree beside City Hall removed and replaced

Photo of hemlock beside City Hall



A declining hemlock tree beside Asheville City Hall will be removed and replaced with a new tree.

The Public Works Tree Crew is carrying out the removal and stump grinding in coordination with the City’s planting contractor to facilitate immediate replacement.


Blackgum tree
This blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica) was planted after the hemlock was removed. It matches a blackgum tree beside the Buncombe County Courthouse.

The hemlock is about 50 feet tall and, based on a historic photo, was likely planted during or after the 1930s. The City Arborist has treated it over the years for hemlock woolly adelgid, starting in 2007.  However, he has grown increasingly concerned with its continued decline in health as well as with the worsening of a significant trunk defect at about the level of the second floor of City Hall.  The tree’s peer that was located next to the Buncombe County Courthouse died and was replaced several years ago. By 2015, 90% of hemlocks in the eastern range of North America were declared affected by hemlock woolly adelgid.


The removal is scheduled for March 14, though the work — including the replanting — could extend into the next day. The plan is to use a 75-foot bucket truck for the removal, reaching over landscaping from several blocked parking spaces on City-County Plaza in front of the tree. Since this work is scheduled during the weekend, there should be minimal disruption to employees and other people who come to City Hall.


A blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica) is the species of replacement tree that will be planted after the hemlock is removed and the stump ground out. The hemlock tree that died just opposite on the Courthouse property was replaced with a sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua).


Asheville is a city of trees, a defining feature of the city’s natural beauty. The City of Asheville is dedicated to planting and maintaining a varied and sustainable assortment of trees, removing defective or dead trees and trimming along street rights-of-way to enhance the city’s natural beauty and public safety. 


“Urban forest management includes the removal of mature trees that are sick or dying to ensure safety and a healthy canopy,” said Public Works Director Greg Shuler. “We can look forward to the enjoyment of the new tree for decades to come.”