Tonawanda News

April 10, 2014

City begins tree planting program

By Jessica Bagley jessica.bagley@tonawanda-news.com
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The City of Tonawanda will embark on a tree planting program to replace the city’s old, deceased and infested trees, Mayor Rick Davis announced.

“I have been able to appropriate $10,000 to start the replanting process now as we await the status of a $35,000 Department of Environmental Conservation Tree Grant that we applied for. In this way, we can catch the spring planting season,” Davis said.

Director of Parks and Recreation Amanda Galas said the replanting will begin in May, and over the next few years, the city hopes to plant hundreds of trees — more than it will have to take down. 

Last year, five arborists completed a tree inventory that charted the location and condition of the city’s 6,000 trees. The arborists identified more than 400 trees that need to be removed. Many of the trees were damaged in the October 2006 storm and others’ roots were harmed during sidewalk replacement projects. The emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle, has infested many trees, as well, and some had simply reached their life expectancy. 

Davis said the city plans to introduce more flowering trees with less invasive roots in areas where larger trees can’t be planted. 

“Decades ago, there was not proper planning with the placement of trees under power lines, in areas that would not support a big tree, or where there was not proper spacing between trees,” Davis said. “We are doing our due diligence to ensure the trees we plant will not cause any damage to city or resident property and will thrive in the locations we plant them.”

Once the removal and replanting is complete, the city will enact a regular pruning schedule, which has not been in place for many years, the mayor said.

“This will ultimately help ensure we have a healthy tree population moving forward,” Davis said.

Residents who are interested in having a tree placed on their property can call the Parks and Recreation Department at 505-1172. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter@JessicaLBagley.