July 2, 2009
Recent Census Helping Tree City USA Keep Tabs on Timber
Memphis is officially a Tree City USA honoree, but the city council may soon be answering directly to the oaks and the silver maples after a recent tree inventory revealed the hardwoods nearly outnumber the residents of the city.
The tree census, performed by Midwest Forest Consultants, LLC, of Jefferson City, catalogued a total of 1,032 trees on city property or legal right-of-ways, which stretch 30 feet from either side of a street’s center.
The study was performed in an effort to review potential hazards related to possible tree diseases or inclement weather. It was funded through a TRIM grant provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation at a cost of $9,586.
Project coordinator Shelby Jones a senior forester, revealed that 85% of the trees survey were in fair or good condition. Those trees classified in poor condition suffered from a number of issues, but the largest problem was caused by mower damage.
“Lawnmowers are a major source of basal wounding of street trees, parks trees and residential trees,” said Jones. “A mulching program around street and park trees could alleviate much of this problem.”
The survey identified 21 trees as hazardous and in need of immediate removal with an additional 90 trees marked as low priority concerns for removal within the next five years. The hazardous trees typically are hollow or pose some other danger of collapse or potential to damage property or neighboring trees.
City Street Superintendent Roy Monroe indicated the city is currently in the application process for the 2009 TRIM program to help fund the removal of approximately 30 trees.
Jones also noted the city is faced with significant conflicts between trees and overhead power lines resulting from trees being planted beneath this infrastructure. He recommended public education regarding such plantings as well as pruning and shaping of trees at a much younger age.
The study revealed that silver maples are the most popular tree with 169 trees identified. Green ash was the second most popular tree type with 10% of the survey or 101 trees. Pin oaks were third with 87 followed by red oak with 47 and sugar maple at 44. There are 40 Siberian elm trees on the city right-of-way. That number has dramatically reduced in the past decade as recent ice storms took their toll on the species, making it the least popular of utility crews.