SHEBOYGAN, Wis.— The tree planting crew for the City of Sheboygan has their operation down to a science. City forester, Tim Bull, said on a good day, they can put 50 new trees into the ground.

What You Need To Know

  • Sheboygan became first in Wisconsin to become Tree City USA in 1976

  • Now it's first in the state to attain Tree City of the World status

  • City workers installed new gravel bed to help stage new trees

  • They’ll plant 300 trees in the spring and 350 in the fall

“We have 300 trees we’re planting this spring,” said Bull.

They recently planted on Swift Ave., which looked barren compared to six years ago when ash trees lined the street.

(City of Sheboygan)

“In 2016, we started cutting down ash trees preventatively, because we knew the emerald ash borer was here,” said Bull. “We didn’t want to wait for all the trees to die.”

Bull remembered the street as full of trees with plenty of shade.

“Now there’s nothing,” said Bull. “Twenty, 30 years from now, there will be some nice canopy here again.”

In 1976, Sheboygan gained recognition as a "Tree City USA" for its commitment to urban forestry— the first in Wisconsin. 

(Spectrum News/Jon Fuller)

Recently, the Arbor Day Foundation came out with a new designation: "Tree City of the World." 

“We applied for that, and we again became the first city in Wisconsin to get that,” said Bull.

It's one of only 120 cities across the globe with that distinction. But even with the recognition, they aren’t slowing down.

Outside the Department of Public Works building, an automatic timer waters trees kept inside a brand new holding area. The trees held there will help fill the roughly 3,000 open planting sites in the city.

(Spectrum News/Jon Fuller)

“I’ve been here since 2013, and this is the first year that we’ve put in more trees than we’re removing,” said Joseph Kerlin, Sheboygan superintendent of parks and forestry. “It’s going to take some time to catch up to that deficit.”

Bull and his crew seemed excited to close the gap.

“We got 650 trees delivered last week, and 350 of them we put in this peat gravel,” said Bull. “It really jumpstarts the trees for when we plant them in the fall.”

(Spectrum News/Jon Fuller)

The city received local grant money for the gravel bed, as well as tree donations. It shows the importance of trees in the community.

“It’s been a great addition. It’s going to offer the trees we want to plant every year at a cheaper rate and a lot healthier,” said Kerlin.

This Tree City of the World wants to keep planting and growing.​