An urban forest consisting of 209 trees of 13 species is coming to the 425-foot-diameter loop at the northwest intersection of East Andrew Johnson Highway and Highway 11-E in Morristown, courtesy of an $18,500 state grant, officials announced on Tuesday.
The design is the brainchild of Michael Cupp, city government’s horticulturist, who began work in January. Similar trees will be planted in clusters in the loop.
The trees that will grow the tallest – different varieties of oaks, maples and hickory trees – will be planted in the center. Flowering trees like dogwoods, red buds, Yoshino cherry trees, magnolias, tulip poplars and magnolia trees will go in the ground around the perimeter, according to Cupp, who says Norwegian spruces – evergreens – will be part of the mix.
“We had a list of all the trees and quantities, the idea being that as traffic is flowing around the loop, you’ll be able to see trees on both sides,” Cupp said this morning. “The flowering trees will give color in the springtime. The magnolias, of course, will bloom in the summer.”
Cupp says it’s not clear when the trees will be planted, but it will be when the trees are dormant and leafy trees are leaf-less. Cupp will be purchasing the trees from Tennessee nurseries, and they’ll be between 8 and 18 feet tall when they’re planted.
Cupp, who earned horticulture, greenhouse, nursery and turf management degrees at Walters State Community College and at the University of Tennessee, is also in charge of nurturing the 150 trees of 30 varieties planted at Heritage Park, along with the greenery in downtown and other locations.
“I want to see things improved and updated, and additional plantings to enhance the downtown Morristown, or the entire town for that matter,” Cupp said.
Cupp’s love of horticulture began in high school behind and atop lawn mowers. He started his own business in 1991 and maintained the business until the job was created at city government this year.
“I’m enjoying what I’m doing,” Cupp said. “I’m very pleased and very blessed to be doing what I’m doing.”