Norris Tree Commission


The Tree Commission oversees the planting, maintenance, and removal of trees on all city lands and road right-of-ways, except for the Norris Watershed.  Major activities of the Tree Commission include the following: 
  • Honor Tree Program  (Click for further information)
  • Tree City USA Certification and Arbor Day Celebration 
  • Tree Maintenance 
  • Garden Maintenance 

The Tree Commission normally meets on the last Monday of the month at 7 PM at the community building.  It does not normally meet in June, July, or December.  The public is invited to attend the meetings.

Tree City USA Certification and Arbor Day Celebration
Norris has been designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation each year since 1979.  Norris was the first city in the state to receive this certification.  In order to become a Tree City USA, a city must have:

  • A Tree Board or Department
  • A Tree Care Ordinance
  • A Community Forestry Program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita
  • An annual Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Tree CIty Logo

The Tree Commission conducts an annual Arbor Day Celebration at Norris Elementary School in early March.  Clinton Utilities Board and the Tennessee Division of Forestry actively participate in this celebration.  CUB donates and plants a tree in the city in the name of an honoree selected by the Tree Commission.  TDF donates tree saplings which are distributed to students.  In recent years, the school has held an Arbor Day poster contest, and the winning students receive gifts from the Tree Commission.

Tree Maintenance
The Tree Commission oversees the care of trees on city property and road right-of-ways, except for the Norris Watershed.  The Tree Commission ordinance (see above) specifies requirements for “street trees” - trees and other woody vegetation on land road right-of-ways.

In recent years the commission has been treating eastern hemlock trees on city property to combat their recent infestation by the hemlock wooly adelgid. Unless treated, hemlocks can die within 3 or 4 years of being infested by the adelgid. Many hemlocks on residential lots in Norris are also infested by the adelgid. Click here for information on detecting and treating the adelgid. The Tree Commission has been treating hemlocks with an imidacloprid root drench. Several Norris homeowners have been treating their hemlocks with the readily available Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Protection insecticide which contains imidacloprid. Always follow the label directions when using any insecticide.

Hemlock twig infested with hemlock woolly adelgid
Infested hemlock twig
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Archive, CAES,

The Tree Commission discourages the planting of “invasive” trees, shrubs, and vines in the city.  Invasive plants are those that are not native to the Norris area and have the potential to spread and harm natural communities.  Problem invasive plants on public, residential, and commercial property in Norris include the following:

  • Trees: tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima ), princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
  •  Shrubs: privet (Lingustrum), bush honeysuckles (Lonicera), burning bush (Euonymus alatus), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), and mahonia (Mahonia bealei).
  • Vines: kudzu (Pueraria montana), oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), and English ivy (Hedera helix). 

Although it is not highly invasive in the Norris area, the Tree Commission discourages planting Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana) trees.

See for more on invasive plants in Tennessee.  Click here for information on landscaping with native plants and landscaping alternatives for invasive plants. 

Garden Maintenance
The Tree Commission maintains decorative flower gardens:
  •  Friendship Garden - located in the traffic circle at the intersection of East Norris, East Circle, and Dogwood roads
  • Artman Flagpole Garden – located in town center in front of Benchmark Physical Therapy / Hensley Happenings Grill
  • East Norris Entrance Garden – located at the corner of East Norris and Highway 61
  • Foster Garden - located on West Norris Road, in memory of Grace and Al Foster
  • West Norris Entrance Garden – located at the corner of West Norris and Highway 441.  
The Norris Tree Commission was established by Norris City Council in the early 1960s at the request of several interested citizens.  It was first named the Beautification Committee; within a few years this name was changed to the Civic Improvement Committee.  The committee established a newspaper and can recycling program in the 1970s.  The proceeds from this effort supported the new honor tree program. In 1978, to support efforts to have Norris designated a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation, Norris City Council: 1) changed the Committees name to Tree Commission; 2) passed a community tree ordinance (see above); 3) established an annual budget for the Commission; and 4) issued a proclamation observing Arbor Day.  The Arbor Day Foundation designated Norris a Tree City in 1979.
Current commission members are:

  • Susan Batchelor 
  • Spencer Boardman
  • Bill Grieve
  • Kathy Murphy
  • Chuck Nicholson, Chair
  • Harry Shatz

If you are interested in being a member of the Tree Commission, contact the City Office.
Contact the Tree Commission by calling the City Office at 494-7645, by email to the City Office at, or by email to Chuck Nicholson at