Center Line residents, elected officials and sponsors of the tree planting event from the DTE Energy Foundation and ReLeaf Michigan gathered at Lions Park to plant an array of trees Oct. 7.

Center Line residents, elected officials and sponsors of the tree planting event from the DTE Energy Foundation and ReLeaf Michigan gathered at Lions Park to plant an array of trees Oct. 7.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Center Line planting 40 trees in October

By: Gena Johnson | Warren Weekly | Published October 20, 2023


CENTER LINE — Center Line is taking steps to restore its tree canopy, with two tree-planting events this month.

On Oct. 7, the city partnered with ReLeaf Michigan and the DTE Energy Foundation to host a tree-planting event where city officials and residents planted 20 trees in Lions Park.

Kathi Buckner was among the resident volunteers.

“Personally, I don’t think any place can have enough trees. And at one point, I was on the Urban Forestry Council for the state of Michigan,” said Buckner, a former Center Line City Council member. “For Center Line, it adds beauty and adds atmosphere. I think that’s important.”

Buckner was also with the Center Line Beautification Commission for nearly 40 years before retiring.

“They (the trees) are beautiful all summer long with their foliage and they just turn spectacular in the fall with their different colors,” Buckner said.

Center Line City Manager Dennis Champine addressed the importance of replacing lost trees.

“The real issue for us is the fact that the urban forestry canopy has been depleted drastically over the last 40, 50 years. Different diseases have attacked the trees. We’re just trying to get it back to a point where the canopy is actually helping to create a cleaner air environment for the community,” said Champine. “Adding more trees soaks up the groundwater. Having trees isn’t just about beauty. It is about doing good things for the environment.”

The planting process was completed in about two hours on Oct. 7, Champine said.

“We had 20 trees and got them in the ground. The DPW (Department of Public Works) had gotten the holes prepared for us. So we just had to do some amending to the holes,” Buckner said. “Get the trees out of their tree cages, loosen up the bundles and get them in the ground and bury them.”

Trees improve mental wellness, reduce childhood asthma rates, cool our neighborhoods, and enhance commercial and economic vitality, according to ReLeaf Michigan.

Center Line’s tree-planting event was established four years ago, according to Champine, and has resulted in more than 160 trees planted around the city, including the Autumn Blaze maple trees planted in front of City Hall about two years ago.

The trees planted at Lions Park included an array of white oak, Triumph elm, Green Vase zelkova and Shademaster honeylocust.

A tree leaves an environmental legacy that will add to the beauty of your community for generations, according to Champine.

Buckner, who has been participating in tree-planting operations for nearly 20 years, said she may participate in the Oct. 27 planting.

“As long as I can help out, I will. I’m 75 years old. I don’t bend as well as I used to, so it’s not as easy for me,” Buckner said. “But I would be more than happy to come out and help out as much as I can.”   

Center Line will partner with Second Nature and Macomb Green for the Oct. 27 planting event at Memorial Park.

A total of 20 trees and bushes will be planted along the north and south sides of the new parking lot by the football field, according to Champine. The plantings will include a variety of trees including black gum, maple, oak, magnolia, sweet gum, white pine, juniper and thuja.

Center Line City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Richard Moeller, who is a staff engineer at Comerica Bank, has enlisted about 20 of his colleagues to help with the planting.

“Since I have been in office, along with the city manager, we have put it on our agenda to become more green-friendly,” Moeller said.

The efforts will extend to building a nursery that will house trees and bushes to be planted on public and private property in Center Line.

“We are working with our friends at Green Macomb to establish a tree nursery sometime next year so that we can plant anywhere from 50 to 100 trees and bushes every year,” said Champine. “That nursery is funded by grant dollars from Green Macomb, so the taxpayers of Center Line are not paying for anything through their property taxes.”

The site for the nursery has yet to be determined, said Champine.

The nursery will be constructed of cement and have drainage, water and irrigation systems large enough to house 100 to 200 trees while they establish their roots. After about three years, the trees will be relocated to their permanent location, according to Champine.

“Residents will have an opportunity to purchase trees if they want to put them on their own property,” said Champine. “The program is geared towards encouraging both planting on private property and continuing our efforts to plant on public properties.”

For those interested in volunteering for the Oct. 27 tree planting, bring your work boots, gloves, shovels and hard rakes to Memorial Park at 25355 Lawrence. The event starts at 9 a.m. and runs until noon. Register for the event by contacting Dennis Champine at

“No volunteers will be turned away,” said Moeller.