Tonawanda News

September 19, 2013

NT tree program rooted in tradition

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — As residents ready for the change in fall colors, North Tonawanda Department of Youth, Recreation and Parks is gearing up for a tree-planting initiative dating back to the 1970s. 

Called the North Tonawanda Street Tree-Planting Program, Parks Directory Patty Brosius said the aim is to continue adding green space in a city already known for an abundance of it. She said dozens of residents participate each year. 

“We’ve been planting trees forever,” she said. “We usually do about 50 trees a year, but that can vary.”

Brosius said residents who pay $50 can choose from a variety of eight trees, with pictures and descriptions of each species available in her office. Once a selection is made, the city will call utility companies to check on the viability of a chosen spot, then plant the tree in late November or early December — the best time to do so for the sake of the tree’s longevity. The most popular choice in recent years has been the crimson king red maple. 

Whatever the selection, trees will be planted between the sidewalk and the curb, Brosius noted, with final approval left to department employees, who must ensure the ideal spot is not too close to road signs, fire hydrants or driveways. 

Brosius said that purchasing a tree and paying to have it planted through private contractors can run several hundred dollars, but because the city buys in bulk it can offer the same deal for less. 

“We buy in bulk so we get a better deal,” she said. “Of course, it has to be on city property.” 

Brosius listed the many benefits of adding trees to one’s property, including a healthy wildlife populace, ebbing soil erosion, water conservation and increased property values. 

“We want to promote ourselves as a green city,” she said. 

The venture follows similar initiatives over the last several years, including dozens of trees put in the ground in 2012 on Sweeney, Oliver, Deerfield and Vanderbilt streets through the efforts of Re-Tree Western New York, which was established following the surprise October storm of 2006, decimating much of the region’s stock. 

Trees can be purchased through Oct. 11, while the city has sent out bids to four local nurseries. A list of selections can be found in Brosius’s office in the Norman Keller Building, 500 Wheatfield St. For more information call 695-8520.