Monday, October 13, 2008

The Trouble With Trees

The Fishwrap reports Spring Grove Cemetery an Arboretum has lost 300 trees this year due to drought and the havoc wreaked by the recent windstorm (Ike) on the weakened trees.

Spring Grove loses 300 trees this year
By Rebecca Goodman
Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum lost 300 trees this year - 151 of them on Sept. 14, when an unprecedented windstorm swept through Greater Cincinnati. The rest have slowly succumbed to thirst after last year's record-breaking heat and drought.
One of the trees damaged by the storm was named a national champion tree by the nonprofit conservation group American Forests.
At about 40 feet tall, the two-wing silverbell was the largest known specimen of its kind in the country.
It cannot be saved, but horticulturists at Spring Grove will attempt to propagate the tree, according to Whitney Huang, manager of horticulture at Spring Grove.
Also damaged in the storm were more than 50 monuments - about a dozen of which were shattered. Those that were merely toppled from their bases will be uprighted by cemetery workers. Those lost or damaged are the responsibility of the owners, according to Gary M. Freytag, president and CEO of Spring Grove.
The Davey Tree Expert Co. was hired to help clean up the debris at Spring Grove. Huang said she hopes the cleanup will be finished by year's end.
Some of the trees are being sold for lumber. Others are being chipped and will be used as mulch for the cemetery's flower beds, Freytag said. So far, $150,000 has been spent on the cleanup.
"That doesn't include our own people's time," Freytag said. "That's just outside services."
The winds "did a lot of damage in areas that are in the 100- to 150-year-old age," Freytag said. "There are areas of the cemetery where there's a big open space now and open sky because there used to be a canopy of trees and it just isn't there anymore."
Spring Grove had two national champion trees. The two-wing silverbell won't be removed while the cemetery tries to propagate it.
"It has three main trunks and two of them are just stubs, and one has just a little small branch on there that is still green," Huang said.
The other national champion - a little silverbell that stands about 15 feet - is unharmed.
Thirty-four species of trees were lost in the storm, Huang said. Most were red oaks, which tended to be tall. Their trunks snapped in the middle. Also gone are many maples and ash trees. The drought-damaged trees were mostly evergreens.
Huang estimated the cost of replacing the 151 trees lost in the windstorm at $60,000.
"We're not going to be able to replant all of this in a year or two," she said. "We want to bring back native species and shade trees because we lost a ton."

Fishwrap story was here.
Pictures I took shortly after the storm here.

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