Street Tree and Easement Planting Program

The Forest Board has developed a program, in conjunction with the Audubon Park Garden Club, for assisting homeowners in planting Canopy Street Trees.  This program has a strong focus on choosing long-lived trees with greater diversity -- it does not include Maples, Pin Oak, or Ash, which are over-represented and/or subject to specific pest threats.  Therefore, some choices will be "test" species that need evaluation for Audubon Park.

To participate in this program, the Owner completes and signs a "Memorandum of Understanding" (see attached file below) with a member of the Forest Board so that the responsibilities for early maintenance and how the program works are clear. This is not a legal document, but simply an attempt to make sure that everyone is on the same page about the care required to establish these trees.  The cost of the program is set at $75 - $100, donated to the Garden Club Tree Restoration Fund.  This cost covers the initial site preparation (often by air-knifing) and planting, the tree itself, use of an Ooze Tube for one year, and hardware cloth cage, and follow-up structural pruning by Forest Board volunteer pruners. 

You will get a (very) SMALL tree but a GREAT BARGAIN.  
You are not paying for the tree -- you are paying for a program that results in a healthy well-maintained & well-chosen species
that gets off to an excellent start and receives proper structural pruning.


The Forest Board keeps a running tally of potential sites and is able to fill about 10 sites per year.  We are trying for 20 trees this year.  As we do the updated Inventory, we will be evaluating all vacant easement sites identified in the Street Tree inventory to develop a tentative suggested species list for each site.  Note that the "easement" includes placements in yards that are further back from the road, since these still provide shade cover to public ways (sidewalks and streets).  You can call us, and sometimes we will call you, if we note that you are in a particularly impacted area that is losing canopy.

Some Recommended Street Trees 

  • Dutch Elm Disease Resistant (DEDR) American Elms - Princeton is the most common cultivar available.
  • American Beech
  • American Basswood
  • Bald Cypress
  • London Plane "Yarwood"
  • Tulip Poplars
  • Tupelos
  • Sugarberry
  • The Oaks:  Chestnut Oak, Swamp Chestnut Oak, Scarlet Oak, Willow Oak, N. Red Oak, White Oak
  • Smaller Shade Tolerant Trees for special circumstances:  Allegheny serviceberry,  American Hornbeam, American Smoketree

Many of the Canopy Shade Trees are available from Forest Keeling (a tree restoration nursery) through the Clark County SWCD in Charlestown, IN.  The Forest Keeling seedlings are in 3 gallon pots.  We are also working with a new nursery Woody Warehouse, Inc. which propagates trees from seed collected in our area.

These trees are just above starting from seed – have patience and faith.  Small trees have fewer root problems than larger specimens and adapt better to the site.  If they die, the site is well-prepared for replanting.  The Forest Board, with assistance from Garden Club funds, will usually try one re-planting for trees that fail.

The following are also recommended species that are available in larger sizes from area nurseries:  American elm “Princeton”, Black Gums, and various named varieties of Bald Cypress.  You choose your tree, and have it planted by the nursery, according to Forest Board Planting Standards. Be warned that nursery planting practices often do not conform to the standards put out by the International Society of Arboriculture.  In particular, removal of the burlap and the metal cage should be done!  But nurseries will often refuse to do this, and trees fail in five or ten years, well beyond the one year warranty.   We recommend the same care for nursery planted trees -- Ooze tubes for the first year, and cage protection, with structural pruning for five years.  

For special situations:  we have limited access to Shagbark and Shellbark Hickory and other nut species, including American chestnuts and Pecans.

For a quick view of these trees, young and old, run the Slide Show of Raising Your Tree Images,  There is also a slide show of single page Tree Collages for each species.  The show helps to give you a realistic view about the things a young tree must overcome to reach the skyline.  You will learn to respect the resilence in this living creature and to protect it from negligence.

Priority Areas

The Tree Committee has certain high priority target areas, where most Shade Trees are gone or will be gone.  Below are areas where we may ask you about replanting in your easement. 

1.  The streets to the north of Audubon Parkway that run to Hess:  Chickadee, Teal, Widgeon,        Meadowlark, Sora, and Eagle Pass.
2.  The end of Curlew Road where it enters into Cardinal.
3.  The low-lying areas of Crossbill, where trees need to tolerate flooding and a high water table.
4.  The planting strips on Audubon Parkway between Chickadee up to the Oriole Flag circle.  This              area has had multiple plantings done since 2007 and should be finished in 2012 and 2013. 
5.  The planting strip on the even numbered side of Robin.
6.  The front of City Hall.  DONE!   

We know there are people who love only grass, for whom any leaf on an immaculate lawn is an offense.  We will still ask you at least once about planting a tree.  It is important to recognize that grass has little ecological value, and in fact, contributes to water shortages and to water pollution through fertilization run-off and to air-pollution through use of power equipment.

One long-term goal is to achieve one healthy canopy tree for every other home on a street.  This reduces our total trees, but gives each Canopy Tree more chance of getting sun to the entire crown and puts in long-lived trees on adequately prepared sites.

WHY NO MAPLES ON THE LIST ?

Go back to the first page. By our inventory, we already have more than enough maples.

    But in addition, please note:
  • Our Sugar Maples are not in good condition.  They are sensitive to urban pollution, and they are sensitive to increasing heat load.   Most of them have substantial breakage and cavities because central leaders have been crowded out by competing co-dominant stems, with weak structure.
  • Our Red Maples show increasing and severe branch breakage with age.  They do not have strong wood, although Silver maples are worse (which is faint praise.) 
  • Red Maples are at best co-dominant in structure and frequently multi-stemmed with low branches. They show a weak structure with low lying sites of failure. They require substantial continuous pruning to be acceptable street trees.  Many of the trees with major cavities and rot are Red maples. where breakage has resulted in cavities and stubs. Red maples have the highest mortality of all of our tree species.
  • If you must have orange fall color as your main consideration, choose a Tupelo (Black Gum) or Sterile Sweet Gum, like "Happy Days" or search for Katsura tress.