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Thursday, August 29, 2019

City Hall parking lot trees to become more diverse

As a part of a xeriscaping and landscape diversity plan, the city’s Forestry Division has taken out trees and grass from City Hall parking lot medians and will redo these areas. It may look bare now, but a plan is in place to beautify these areas again, demonstrate water conservation and improve the growing conditions for the trees.

“We removed honey locust trees in poor condition, ash trees that weren’t large enough for our emerald ash borer treatments, and a few oak trees on island end caps,” said Assistant City Forester Bryan McCoy.

The division has been implementing a turf reduction and water conservation program. They plan to have the medians on the north side of the parking lot aesthetically match the medians on the south side in front of the Public Safety Center, which were replaced last year.

“A contractor will plant 12 different tree species throughout the parking lot to increase tree diversity,” said McCoy. “This will help prevent entire rows of trees from dying if they become afflicted with a disease.”

Replacement trees, such as hackberry, northern catalpa, and Ulmus “Morton Glossy” are scheduled to be planted Sept. 18-20.

The medians will also use decorative gravel to minimize maintenance. Drip irrigation will be installed to prevent soil erosion and have the water penetrate deeply into the root zone where it’s needed.

“We looked at more sustainable and aesthetically-pleasing options compared to the steeply crowned grass that had been there for many years,” said Parks Foreman Vinnie Ficco. “Removing the crown and turfgrass greatly improves the growing conditions for our trees.”

In times of drought, the division works hard to create sustainable landscapes, and the City Hall parking lot medians are a good example of this practice.

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