Trees provide a multitude of benefits in an urban landscape. Trees slow stormwater runoff and increase infiltration of surface water, moderate climate, provide wildlife habitat, provide shade for pedestrians and cyclists, provide carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, absorb noise pollution, provide a buffer between land uses and enhance the visual aesthetic. In July 2009, the City of Winston-Salem adopted a new tree ordinance to the Unified Development Ordinances which limits tree removal and requires additional tree planting for development sites.
Winston-Salem employs an Urban Forester and has an Urban Forestry program which is responsible for all maintenance on trees on any City property. This includes planting trees on rights-of-way and in parks, removal of hazardous trees and cleanup of storm damage. The department’s 14 employees are responsible for the care of over 100,000 trees.