Two weeks from now, the newly-opened Eastside Trail on the Atlanta BeltLine will be home to more than 400 large new trees, planted by local non-profit Trees Atlanta alongside the path. Over the next several months, an additional 270 trees will be planted along the trail. The trees are part of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, which is a botanical garden with a focus on tree collections that loops around the trails, parks, and neighborhoods that comprise the Atlanta BeltLine.

The trees planted in the next two weeks will be large, ranging in size from 2.5-inch caliper to 6-inch caliper and already up to 18 feet tall. Trees of this size require crews and heavy equipment to move and plant.

“Planting large trees creates instant impact on the Atlanta BeltLine, both visually and environmentally,” says Co-Executive Director of Trees Atlanta Greg Levine. “With the trail now open to the public, we begin the work of installing trees of various sizes, species, and cultivar, at different points along the trail. Atlanta BeltLine users will experience a diverse tree canopy as they enjoy, exercise, or commute on the trail.”

Over 60 different types of trees will be planted on the Eastside Trail with contractors and equipment. Of these, 17 are magnolia species and cultivars, 20 are oak species and cultivars, and 11 are evergreen. Selections of interest include ‘Cathedral’ live oak, Georgia oak, Bur oak, Pignut hickory, Sassafras, and a couple of yellow-flowering deciduous magnolia hybrids (‘Yellow Lantern’ and ‘Yellow Bird’).

Trees Atlanta will be caring for these trees for five years, which is three years longer than the organization maintains trees in its NeighborWoods and Large Tree programs, which plants trees throughout the city.

On December 15, Trees Atlanta volunteers will plant more trees on the Eastside Trail – 209 Sassafras trees and 67 long leaf pine trees in sizes ranging from 3- to 7-gallons. More details will be found on in early December, where potential volunteers can sign up to help with the project. There will be another volunteer opportunity on the Eastside Trail in March, at which time Trees Atlanta will plant native grasses.

In addition to creating and planting the trees on the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, Trees Atlanta will be leading walking tours of the Arboretum, starting with the Eastside Trail, through its year-round Docent Program. Visitors will be able to sign up for a walking tour through Trees Atlanta or the Atlanta BeltLine. During the 2.25 mile walk, participants will learn about the horticultural points of interest along the Atlanta BeltLine, as well as some Atlanta history pertinent to the area. Tours of Eastside Trail will begin later this fall. For more information, please visit

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.