The Capital Trees Program (CTP) grew out of a 1992 citizen request that Raleigh establish a "Champion Tree Program" to recognize the largest, rarest, oldest and prettiest trees of various species. After discussion with representatives of various interested groups, a consensus developed to include all of Wake County in a broad-based educational effort. The program quickly won endorsement from the City of Raleigh and Wake County and interest from other Wake County municipalities. Some municipalities are requiring that efforts be made to protect these honor roll trees. In 2006 Wake County officials requested administration of the Capital Trees Program be moved to Triangle J's Regional Appearance Committee. This move was completed for the 2006-2007 awards cycle.
Trees or groups of trees are nominated for CTP Awards. In order for a tree or group of trees in Wake County to be considered for an award, it must be:
- A species, subspecies, variety or cultivar proven to be relatively long-lived and adapted to our geographic region; and,
- Must be judged by a representative of the Capital Trees Program, to be in such good health and condition to have a reasonable prospect of continuing useful life.
To nominate trees, read the instructions and complete all the information on the CTP Nomination Form, print it, and return it by mail to the program contact. Final selection for an award is determined by the Capital Trees Committee based on a specific rating system and criteria as well as recommendations of the jurors who are professional arborists or foresters. Winners receive a plaque in the biannual awards program, as well as a small tag to attach to the tree.
The Capital Trees Program was partially funded, from 1995-2006, by an Urban and Community Forestry Grant from the NC Division of Forest Resources, Department of Environment and Natural Resources in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, Southern Region.