By Rick Palsgrove
Inspectors are now evaluating the city-owned trees along Groveport’s streets.
“Our tree inspection program is underway,” said Groveport City Councilman Ed Dildine, who is also council’s representative on the city’s trees and decorations committee. “The inspectors are checking species, age, potential danger, and how the trees are growing.
Dildine said, if it is determined a tree must be taken down, city representatives will have a conversation with the nearby homeowner prior to the removal of the tree.
“If a tree is taken down, it will be replaced,” said Dildine. “It may not be the same kind of tree, but it would be tree that would be good for a particular area. You don’t want to put in a large tree that could grow into power lines, for example.”
Groveport has consistently been named a Tree City USA and city officials want to maintain that tradition with its annual tree inspection and maintenance program to protect the town’s city-owned historic trees, as well as younger ones, that line its streets.
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 last May 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 the weaker trees for removal.
The goal of the tree program is to conduct regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance of city-owned trees to mitigate any potential hazards. The program is funded from the city’s street fund budget, which is funded from income tax collections.
Groveport City Administrator B.J. King said last December, “Additionally, the city has a tree fund in the budget. The tree fund can only be used to replace street trees located in subdivisions. In the street fund there is $16,000 budgeted for this program in 2021.”
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 plan includes: performing 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.
According to the plan, maintenance reduces costs and helps keep trees healthy. Large trees provide more benefits than small trees and are prioritized when space allows.