By Rick Palsgrove
The city of Groveport will celebrate its trees and status as a “Tree City USA.”
The Tree City USA Program will be held at the Groveport Municipal Golf Course, 1005 Richardson Road, on April 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. A guided tour of the Tall Pines area, 6833 Richardson Road, at Walnut Woods Metro Park will directly follow the event.
“Tree City USA is a community improvement initiative from the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service,” said Groveport Community Affairs Director Jessica Wyke. “Tree City USA provides the basic framework for communities to grow and maintain their tree cover. The annual Tree City USA Program is a time for communities to celebrate their Tree City USA status and be recognized for their work.”
According to Wyke, the Tree City USA Program includes vendors, guest speakers, an awards presentation, and a catered lunch buffet by The Paddock Pub. Speakers include: Marc DeWerth, Founder of Big Trees Ohio; Alistair Reynolds, Regional Urban Forester; Amanda Love, artist; and Mindi McConnell, Walnut Woods Metro Park Manager (guided tour).
All 237 Ohio Tree City USA communities are invited to attend the program.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation website at arborday.org, “Trees play a critical role in creating healthier, safer, and more connected communities. They clean the air, filter water, and slow storm surge and flooding in cities. Trees provide shade and cool cities by up to 10 degrees, which helps prevent heat-related deaths in urban areas…Neighborhood trees have shown the ability to reduce stress, improve overall health and development in children, and encourage physical activity. A healthy communitywide tree canopy fosters economic advantages and an increase in civic pride among residents.”
This is the 30th year Groveport has been recognized as a Tree City Community. The city is also receiving a Growth Award this year for increased efforts and investments performed in 2022.
According to city officials, there are approximately 2,800 street trees in Groveport.
Tree inspection and maintenance
The city has a large number of old, tall trees that enhance the beauty of its streetscape.
But older trees also can get sick as they age and present a danger, such as in May 2020 when a spring storm uprooted a big tree along Front Street that crushed a Groveport Police cruiser (the police officer was unhurt). After that incident, city officials and an arborist examined old trees on Front Street, and other surrounding streets, and targeted weaker trees for removal.
The city created an annual tree inspection and maintenance program to protect the city-owned historic trees, as well as younger ones, that line its streets. Regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance of city-owned trees are conducted to mitigate any potential hazards.
The tree inspection and maintenance program’s goals are to: maintain the health of all city owned trees; plant or replant the largest suitable tree for the site selected; and maintain a fully stocked urban forest.
The strategies include: performing routine health and hazard assessments of all city-owned trees; removing or pruning for safety all dead and hazardous trees each year; quick response to requests for service; planting a diverse population of trees and replant removed trees each planting season; plant species and placement of trees with aesthetic properties such as summer and fall color and shape; ongoing routine inventory and evaluation of all city-owned trees; routine hazard assessment; conducting Arbor Day activities; and coordinating with the city’s tree and decorations committee.
How trees are selected
Groveport Public Services Director Bryan Strayer said, “While we prefer to plant the largest species of tree to maximize benefits, several factors are taken into consideration when choosing a street tree.”
Per Strayer, these factors include:
•Location – Right tree in the right place, taking into consideration overhead and underground utilities and size of tree lawn (between sidewalk and curb) as larger species need room to grow, dry or wet conditions.
•Diversity – Too many trees of a same species subjects them to devastating impacts from disease or insects (such as Emerald Ash Borer killing Ash trees). Diversity lessens the impact when needing to remove and replace dead or diseased trees.
•Color and Shape – While trying to diversify species, some trees look similar in shape and color, but are different species.
•Cleanliness – Choice of trees must take into account how the tree will affect the roadway, vehicles, and pedestrians. The city avoids planting trees which are high fruit producing, drop an excessive amount of limbs, and stain the roadway or sidewalks.
In 2022, the city planted 181 trees. and removed 129 trees.
“A list of trees to be planted and removed in 2023 will be created this summer,” said Strayer, who added the health of a tree is determined by a certified arborist unless it is obvious to experienced department staff.
Strayer said the tree inspection program is funded and budgeted through the: Street Fund – $50,000; Tree Fund – 62,750; and additional funds budgeted in Parks – $4,000 and Cemetery – $2,000.
“The funding includes planting, pruning, plant health care and removal,” said Strayer. “Right now, the tree inspection and maintenance program does not include park or cemetery trees. This is something we expect to implement in the near future.”