The Nashville Tree Foundation works to preserve and enhance Nashville’s urban forests by planting trees in urban areas, identifying the oldest and largest trees in Davidson County, and educating the public about the value of trees.


In 1986 founders of the Nashville Tree Foundation wanted to create an organization to keep enthusiasm for Nashville’s trees alive after the highly successful planting of 1,986 trees across the state for the Homecoming ’86 celebration. These founding members, who served on the Davidson County team to plant trees, realized there was real value in helping preserve and protect our urban forests. Under the leadership of community volunteer and tree enthusiast, Betty Brown, the foundation gained recognition and support for several activities including the Big Old Tree Contest and High Tree Party, arboretum designations, educational programs in schools, and planting projects with partners like MDHA and Metro Nashville. It wasn’t until the devastating tornadoes of 1998 that the Tree Foundation catapulted into action in response to the loss of over 8,000 trees felled during the storms. ReLeaf Nashville began with mostly private funding of $1,000,000 raised in 6 months to replant 2,000 of the trees that were lost in East Nashville. From that award-winning effort, ReLeafing Day evolved and is still a major project of the Nashville Tree Foundation that focuses on planting trees in neighborhoods.

Since our founding, we have planted over 10,000 trees of significant size (1.5” caliper on average) with the help of community volunteers, recognized over 800 winners of the Big Old Tree Contest, designated 26 arboretum sites throughout Davidson County, and educated the public about the value of trees.  All of the efforts have been accomplished through successful collaborative efforts on a lean budget.


Nashville Tree Foundation plants a variety of trees that will survive the soil and weather conditions in Middle Tennessee.  When possible, we plant native and heirloom species and ones that are 1.5” caliper (diameter of the trunk).  But above all else, we believe that planting a tree that will benefit tomorrow’s generations is the best tree to plant.