ABOUT US​

The Tree Management Program is responsible for monitoring and maintaining more than 200,000 trees along city streets and on city properties, and we plant an average of 800 trees every year. We also provide educational resources for the community. 

Trees are pruned to encourage healthy growth and structure and to remove dead or diseased limbs. They are removed when they are determined to be unhealthy or structurally unsound. When trees obstruct the right-of-way during and after storms, our group clears these obstructions and ensures safe passage for vehicles and pedestrians. We also survey, monitor and treat for insects and diseases that may affect street trees. We currently oversee the Tree Canopy Preservation Program, which acquires and preserves tree-canopied land within city limits, including land for the Urban Arboretum Trail

OUR TEAM

The City Arborist Group's maintenance and inspection teams are charged with efficiently and quickly responding to and inspecting right-of-way tree related citizen requests. This group of tree care professionals is well qualified to prune, plant, and remove trees. The group holds 13 ISA arborist certifications, 11 ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualifications. 

There are four members in the City Arborist Group inspection team, led by Senior Municipal Arborist Specialist Michael Felts. Mary Propst, Jacko Ahoy, and Marshal Anderson respond to inspection requests in dedicated geographical areas. This inspection team manages all inspection duties for right-of-way trees in Charlotte's city limits while Michael manages inspection duties in the uptown area.

Laurie Reid, City Arborist

Laurie manages and coordinates programs to effectively manage right-of-way trees, enforcing the city's tree ordinance as it relates to right-of-way trees and conducting outreach and education sessions. 

She holds a bachelor of science and master of science in entomology from Clemson University. She is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist and holds an ISA Tree Risk Assessment certification.

Laurie's career path began as an environmental educator for Cypress Gardens, a park in Berkeley County, SC, and later became the forest health program manager for the South Carolina Forestry Commission. She came to the City of Charlotte in 2016, start off as an Urban Forestry Specialist, then Urban Forestry Supervisor, and then the Assistant City Arborist. She became the City Arborist in 2021.  

Laurie is passionate about environmental education, trees, forest health, and insects and diseases that affect trees.
Joel Balsiger, Assistant City ArboristJoel Balsiger, Assistant City Arborist
Joel has lived and worked with trees in every state of the continental west coast of America. Seeing the value in continuous education and self-improvement, his qualifications include a bachelor's degree and two associate degrees, being a board-certified Master Arborist, a Certified Municipal Tree Specialist, Tree Risk Assessment Qualified ISA-Certified Arborist, and a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional. Joel’s work experience includes private tree care, golf course management, parks and recreation maintenance and sports turf maintenance. 

Joel directs the tree maintenance and tree inspection branches of Landscape Management and the extensive planting program the City of Charlotte undertakes yearly. 

Michael Felts, Senior Municipal Arborist Specialist

Michael has more than 15 years of arboriculture experience. He is a Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) ISA Certified Arborist a who holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science.
 
As the Senior Municipal Arborist Specialist, Michael supervises four Municipal Arborist Specialists who are responsible for inspecting and right-of-way trees in four specific geographical areas within Charlotte’s city limits. These inspection responsibilities include resident-generated requests for tree trimming or removals, enforcing the tree ordinance where it pertains to right-of-way trees in residential areas, and finding appropriate planting sites for the right-of-way tree planting program. Michael also manages the inspection of trees within uptown. 

A Charlotte native, Michael has participated in many ISA tree-climbing competitions.

Josh Merwin, Tree Maintenance Supervisor

Josh is a Tree Risk Assessment Qualified ISA Certified Arborist and a certified ISA Tree Worker Climber Specialist. Josh’s team consists of a Municipal Arborist Specialist Work Manager and tree maintenance crews that are responsible for tree inspections, pruning, removal and clearing tree obstructions from the right-of-way during and after storms to ensure safe passage for vehicles and pedestrians. Josh has more than 14 years’ experience working with trees. He brings a calm and even temperament to a job that may be stressful to others. Although an avid and experienced BMX racer, one day while practicing a downhill race he was loudly heckled that he was “Better than yesterday!”

 Natasha Warren, Program Coordinator

Natasha provides general and advanced program support related to communication with the public, tree canopy program management, maintenance operations, Charlotte Tree Advisory Commission and interdepartment coordination efforts. 

Natasha started her career as City Horticulturist and is a North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association Certified Plant Professional, NC licensed landscape contractor and ISA Certified Arborist. Natasha earned a master of business administration and worked in contracting and economic development. A southern Indiana native, Natasha has a great interest in ornamental plants.