Become a Tree Keeper

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“A tree is our most intimate contact with nature.”

As part a mission to preserve and create an equitable and resilient tree canopy in Durham, Keep Durham Beautiful, Trees Durham, and the city of Durham rely on Tree Keepers.

What Are Tree Keepers?

Tree Keepers are volunteers who have accumulated the knowledge and skills to assist and serve a leadership role in volunteer tree planting and tree care activities. Tree Keepers lead small groups of volunteers, provide quality control, and teach others how to plant and care for trees.

Sounds Great! How Do I Join?

Join N.C. Cooperative Extension, Durham County Center, Keep Durham Beautiful, TreesDurham, and the City of Durham for a Tree Keeper Training Series! This three-part series will cover the basics of winter tree planting and care, and prepare you to lead small groups in tree plantings as a Durham Tree Keeper.

For more information, click here: Durham Tree Keeper program.

Click Here to Register!

Dates: 9/17, 10/1 and 10/15

Times: 10 a.m. – 12 noon

Location: N.C. Cooperative Extension, Durham County Center – 721 Foster Street

Price: $30 for all three sessions

Needs-Based Scholarships: If you are interested in the program, but are financially unable to pay the class fee, please contact Ashley Troth (


Session 1: The Dig Deep Details of Tree Planting | September 17, 2022 | 10 a.m. – 12noon

Learn about how to set up a successful tree planting! We’ll review tree and root biology, and how to prepare your site and soil for success. We’ll also learn about the difference between bare-root, container, and ball & burlap trees, and how to properly plant each. We will talk a bit about the ergonomics of digging, and how to dig a hole that works for different sites. If all goes well, we’ll even plant a tree!

Session 2: Structural Pruning for Success | October 1, 2022 | 10 a.m. – 12 noon

Just like many of us, trees need good structure when they are young to grow properly. Learn how to perform the initial structural pruning needed during the tree’s early growing years. We’ll spend time reviewing how trees grow to understand proper pruning techniques, how to decide which branches to cut and why, and what kinds of tools are needed for the job. Then we’ll head outside to practice what we’ve learned!

Session 3: Tree Planting Masters Session | October 15, 2022 | 10 a.m. – 12 noon

Learn and apply your knowledge to help lead tree planting groups! This session will teach you how to lead small groups in tree planting. We’ll learn how to train other people to plant trees, talk about safety and group management, and prepare you to become an official Tree Keeper! This session will include a general review of everything learned in the past three sessions, with a focus on leading small groups.