Kettering starts program to recognize trees enhancing property in the city

Kettering is starting a program rewarding property owners for “exceptional” trees enhancing residences, businesses and public parks.

The Heritage Tree initiative is similar to Kettering’s Neighborhood Pride program, which for the past 36 years has honored property owners who have made significant improvements to their homes or businesses, said Gary Schussler, the city’s parks superintendent.

Up to 10 trees each year will be recognized with plaques landowners can display, as well as through Kettering publications and social media posts, according to the city.

Awarded trees will be added to Kettering’s Heritage Tree database to remain recognized for future years, city officials said.

“The premises is to advocate for … trees that fall into those application criteria,” Schussler said. “So, whether it’s beauty or size or a significant story or origin. We’re just really trying to signify special trees throughout the city.”

Applications will be judged on size, species and history of a particular tree, he said.

“If there’s an anecdotal story … if the tree was planted 20 years ago in memory of someone or there’s a special story behind it, we’ll use that” when judging, Schussler added.

Rare species or diverse trees will also be considered, but “we want to identify native trees. It definitely has to be a single-stemmed tree,” he said.

The program defines trees as “perennial plants having a single woody main trunk usually characterized by the ability to grow to considerable size and the development of woody branches.” Shrubs, bushes, ornamentals and fruit trees are ineligible, according to the city.

Entries will be accepted through late August, Schussler said, and a committee will then vote on the winners.

Kettering has raised funds for the program the past two years at its annual Tree Love event at the Eudora Brewing Co., he said.

For more information, call 937-296-2486 or email Schussler at

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