Several dead trees in the city park will be removed in the next few days, ahead of a formal report on the health of the city’s tree population, according to City Administrator Harold Selby.
There are two dead trees near the children’s pavilion at the entrance to Birk Circle. One is completely dead while another has some green on lower branches but the center, tallest parts of the tree are dead.
A third tree was added to the list for removal after Mayor Herb Adams drove through the park recently.
At the request of the park board, arborists with Davey Resource Group, Kent, Ohio, conducted an inventory to identify the species, location and health of all trees in the park system.
The board lobbied the administration to apply for a tree grant and requested the survey to help volunteers manage what professional arborists terms the urban forest.
“Some trees grow better near other trees,” Stephen Flannery, park board president said. “Others need more space to reach their full height. We needed to know how our trees are positioned, which are healthy and which might need some work.”
Although the survey was completed and a report on the study sent to the city, it has not been opened or read due to a lag in grant paperwork, Selby said.
One element of the survey was to identify any trees that pose a hazard.
The decision to move forward with removal of the two trees came after a park walker brought them to the attention of The Missourian — which contacted the city about plans for the two trees and any others that pose a hazard.
“Now that we know about them we’ll take them down,” Selby said.
The park walker who voiced concerns about dead trees has done the city a favor, according to Adams.
After the questions were raised, Adams said he had identified a third large tree that is dead between the Rulon Pavilion and the creek. It will also come down.
The city crews will remove the trees because they are not near a structure or overhead lines.
“If they were (near high lines or buildings), we’d hire a professional to take them down,” Selby said.
The city had known for months that trees that posed a possible hazard would have to come down but were waiting for the results of the tree survey.
Bill Pemberton, who is assigned to the parks, does a monthly safety check on things at the park, Selby said. “We should and will do a better job taking care of our green space. We have so much more now because of the flood buyout.”
Selby said he hopes city crews will start clearing some of the underbrush this fall in different places. One place is around Brush Creek.
“That should be opened up.” Selby said. “That is a great asset and would look great as a flowing stream one could sit by.”
“Things like this are really low cost,” Selby said. “We have assets right here that have been hidden such as the area where Adam’s Garden is. Brush was allowed to grow up there to keep folks out of the cave, now look at it. I think Brush Creek is another one of those assets, just as the river is.”
Flannery said he and the park board were anxious to see the Davey Group survey results as part of an overall park management plan.
Adams said patrons who use the park have the greatest opportunity to help the city keep the park in great shape.
“Walkers who are in the park every day are the eyes of the community,” Adams said. “They see things every day that many of us drive past. If something is amiss they see it. Actually we are all eyes for each other.”
Arborists examined approximately 1,250 trees and stumps in the mowed and manicured area of the park and promised to recommend measures to enhance the beauty and health of trees while attempting to reduce risk.
The inventory also included all hazardous trees, ash trees and trees greater than 12 inches in diameter within the natural areas.
“Trees that pose a hazard have to be removed,” Flannery said.