New tree tools make it easier to monitor, preserve Charlotte's tree canopy

Tim Porter, city arborist
Tim Porter, city arborist
(Charlotte, N.C.) — The City of Charlotte’s Landscape Management Division recently acquired three new tools to help arborists monitor the health of trees and better identify those that warrant removal versus those that should be preserved. 

“Charlotteans overwhelmingly support protecting and preserving the city’s trees,” says City Arborist Tim Porter. “These new tools help city arborists and urban foresters gain valuable information when evaluating trees for preservation, which will contribute to some trees being retained longer. This is especially important because while our tree canopy continues to age, many can be saved and monitored closely. Without these tools, some of those trees might have been subject to removal.” 

The Airspade® uses compressed air to safely remove soil from around tree roots, making it easier to identify decay and disease and observe root growth. The Arbotom® uses sound waves to analyze a tree’s interior and can detect and precisely locate hidden decay, invisible cavities and cracks. The Resistograph® uses a resistance drill to measure the density of tree trunks and identify less structurally sound wood and hollow spots inside the trunk.

The tools will play a particularly important role in evaluating the health and safety of trees that are located in many of Charlotte’s older neighborhoods, many of which are nearing the end of their lives. The fall cankerworm, emerald ash borer and strong storms also threaten Charlotte’s iconic tree canopy. 

Residents are advised to monitor the health of trees on their property and to have a professional arborist inspect trees that may be unsafe. You can report unhealthy trees in public rights-of-way by calling 311 or visiting 911 to report trees that threaten safety or property or that block major roadways and access for emergency services.

You can learn about ways to protect your trees by visiting​

Landscape Management staff members take a closer look inside a tree sample using the new Arbotom® (left) and Resistograph® tools​


​Landscape Management staff tries out the new Airspade®, which safely removes soil to identify decay and disea​​se on tree roots.