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What's Your Tree's Name?

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We name pets, cars, and boats, but have you ever thought about naming your tree? Trees are living, breathing things, so why wouldn't you?

Certified Arborist David Whitley never thought about naming his trees until he met the right Arborist and the right tree. Here's his story...

Whats Your Trees Name

To some people, this question would make them think I was a little off, but many people might find it interesting and thought-provoking.

I have been an Arborist for 30 years now, and the thought had never really crossed my mind. Sure, I talk to my trees and love the benefits they provide, but a name is not something I had thought about.

I bring up this topic because it reminded me of a colleague that I worked with for several years that was really big into trees having a name. He would help clients pick names based on the type of tree or the tree’s characteristics.

Sometimes the name was perfect, but other times, you had to get to know the tree to understand its name. These were the names that really made an impact on me.

After getting to know the tree or trees, I developed a greater sense of empathy. The connection that I have developed with trees today is a direct result of personalizing them and getting to know them better.

Now let me fast forward several years to a tree that I had acquired and planted at my home last year.

This tree was to be planted for a client with another company, but the tree was not what the client wanted. A replacement tree was sourced and installed.

This tree was left for several months without care and essentially left to die.

Being that the tree is native to the South and normally grows in wetter soil, the lack of water and sitting in a pot were really taking a toll on the tree. The needles had gotten smaller and smaller. This indicates a tree that is starving and living on very limited resources. And yet, it still had the will to survive.

After seeing that the tree was just going to sit there and die, I asked if I could have the tree and hopefully keep it alive. After being given the tree, I took it home and planted it immediately in front of my house. I told the tree that I cared for it and I would do whatever I could to keep it alive. Currently the tree is doing awesome and has put on approximately 12 inches of growth this season.

Once again, I was reminded of my fellow Arborist, and remembered talking with him about some of his personal experiences—health issues, marriage problems and raising his son and daughter alone. But yet, he still had the will to survive.

It was then that I named my first tree.

I would like to introduce Tiggy.  He is a Bald Cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) native to the Southeastern United States and has the ability to adapt to various soil conditions. Bald Cypress trees have the ability to live for several thousand years. The oldest Bald Cypress trees in North Carolina are estimated to be close to 3,000 years old and grow near Wilmington, NC. The Bald Cypress tree was also designated the state tree for Louisiana in 1963.

Tiggy, a bald cypress tree

I share this story because I practice what I preach when it comes to trees and their care. I love trees and love providing the care and nurturing that are required for a long healthy life. If you have a similar story or any story about your trees that you would like to share, we would love to hear it.

Have you named your tree or planted a tree for a special reason? We'd love to hear about it! Send your stories to


Like what you just read?

Then you'll love this: Get to Know David Whitley, ISA-Certified Arborist

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