Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Talk of Trees

As announced, at the Conservation Advisory Council meeting on Tuesday, the discussion was about trees and developing a tree strategy. The CAC decided to put off more ambitious projects--enacting a tree ordinance, establishing a sidewalk tax district, amending City law as it pertains to trees in the public right of way--in favor of pursuing more immediately attainable goals:
  • Doing a comprehensive tree inventory that would include such information as tree species, tree condition, utilities within the tree zone, and building setback.
  • Developing an Urban Street Tree List, based on existing information from urban forestry experts, that not only specifies tree species that are tolerant of urban conditions but also recommends trees for specific street conditions--for example, under utility wires, along narrow sidewalks.
  • Creating planting guidelines, based on current research from arborists and urban forestry specialists, to ensure the trees' long-term survival. 
  • Designing a specific tree planting plan for North Front Street, where, according to CAC chair Jonathan Lerner, the ash trees are doomed and Hudson Terrace is an "interested partner." The plan would plant new trees between the ash trees so that, when the ash trees must be cut, the street will not be completely devoid of trees. 
An audience member stressed the importance of finding ways to plant trees to prevent tree roots from pushing up sidewalks, noting that this was the reason a property owner found it necessary recently to cut down a tree in the 600 block of Warren Street that had been there for forty years. It was also pointed out that the Galvan Foundation is currently engaged in a tree planting initiative, but if the trees were not planted in a way that addresses the problem of roots heaving sidewalks, those trees will be at risk of having to be removed when or before they reach maturity. Alderman Henry Haddad (Third Ward), who was present at the meeting, suggested a moratorium on tree planting until appropriate guidelines could be established.

CAC member Carol Smillie urged that the CAC not overlook the need to educate the community about the value of street trees and the need for a sensible tree ordinance to protect and maintain street trees. She made the point that when presented with a number of corporate logos and leaves from trees, most people could identify the logos and not the species of tree each leaf came from. She suggested they find ways to engage the community, especially children--scavenger hunts, tree walking tours--in learning about trees and their benefits.

CAC member Dale Schafer, who was named "Chief of Trees" by Lerner, agreed to research and make recommendations for tree planting guidelines between now the CAC's next meeting, which will take place on October 4.   


  1. I spent a lot of my time in San Luis Obispo, CA. They have a very robust plan concerning trees:

  2. Check out 618 warren street, there seems to be a new tree.....

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