POV: Rooting for trees

Bethlehem and its surrounding towns have experienced a heavy loss of tree canopy in the last 10 years. Older pines and silver maples have reached maturity and have needed management or replacement. Ash and Elm trees have been lost to disease. Many avenues of taller trees were unfortunately sited under power lines. Bethlehem’s tree-lined streets are disappearing. Severe storms have blown down some of our grandest specimens. Also, Chinese Bittersweet vines (an invasive species) are choking out younger trees in our urban woodlands.

The Bethlehem Garden Club is spearheading an effort to replant trees in our community. In support of our town, we are inviting applications from any landowner in Bethlehem to “host” a new tree in their street-side lot. Resources are limited at this time. Our emphasis will be on planting the right tree in a particular spot. Recipients of a tree will be expected to water and tend the tree, especially during its first two years when regular watering is essential. For an application, visit www.bethlehemgardenclubny.org.

Of course, we encourage everyone to go ahead and replace trees that they have had to remove. Be mindful of underground systems (call 811 to identify underground systems in your yard), overhead power lines, and town code setbacks from the street when siting a tree. Seek advice on good urban trees (salt tolerant and the right height for the spot), especially near sidewalks, streets and buildings.

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