Report on the Planting Season: Fall 2011 to Fall 2012

After the annual review of the Parks in the Fall of 2011, the Forest Board proposed a replanting and restoration program for Henderson Park, recognizing the loss of many of the Dogwoods there, and a need for more diversity and for ash replacements.  Areas of other parks were also updated to more comprehensive plans.  The Forest Board then presented a number of funding proposals to the Audubon Park Garden Club, which maintains several restricted funds for Tree Restoration, largely from Garden Tour profits and from donations in honor of memorable garden club member.   Many people have recently donated for park plantings in honor of Ethelyn Maxwell, who treasured every tree in the Park.  The Garden Club generously approved these plans, and work began in Fall 2011, and continued through 2012.

Audubon Park Tree Planting Program, as a partnership of the Tree Committee of Audubon Park Garden Club and the Forest Board


The report that follows has several highlights.  The plantings achieved significant diversity. Overall 121 trees were planted and survive, of which 82 were in the Parks: total Shade Trees:  77; total ornamentals or Small Trees (Underwire): 44.  The table below show the full Species breakdown.

Summary of Species Planted for Fall 2011 through Fall 2012


 

Column Labels

 

 

 

 

 

 

Street Num

 

Parks Num

 

Total Street Num

Total Parks Num

TOTAL SPECIES

Species

Canopy

Flowering Small

Canopy

Flowering Small

 

 

 

American Beech

1

 

3

 

1

3

4

American Chestnut

 

 

7

 

 

7

7

American Elm

8

 

6

 

8

6

14

Bald Cypress

2

 

 

 

2

 

2

Basswood

1

 

4

 

1

4

5

Cherry Bark Oak

2

 

1

 

2

1

3

Chestnut Oak

1

 

1

 

1

1

2

Copper Beech

 

 

1

 

 

1

1

Dogwood

 

 

 

10

 

10

10

Fringe Trees

 

 

 

3

 

3

3

Ironwood (Blue Beech)

 

2

 

6

2

6

8

London Plane

7

 

3

 

7

3

10

Serviceberry

 

3

 

6

3

6

9

Shagbark Hickory

 

 

3

 

 

3

3

Shellbark Hickory

 

 

1

 

 

1

1

Sugarberry

 

 

3

 

 

3

3

Swamp Chestnut Oak

1

 

2

 

1

2

3

Sweetbay Magnolia

 

 

 

3

 

3

3

Tulip Poplar

4

 

2

 

4

2

6

Tupelo

2

 

1

 

2

1

3

White Oak

1

 

2

 

1

2

3

Willow Oak

4

 

 

 

4

 

4

Witchhazel

 

 

 

3

 

3

3

Catalpa

 

 

2

 

 

2

2

Sassafras

 

 

1

 

 

1

1

Sourwood

 

 

 

2

 

2

2

Yellowwood

 

 

 

2

 

2

2

Grand Total

34

5

43

39

39

82

121

 


Summary of Audubon Park Tree Committee Total Costs (Fall 2011 – Fall 2012)

All costs have come from Audubon Park Garden Club Memorial Tree Funds and Restoration Funds

Item

Cost

Donation Offset

Net Costs

Average Cost/Tree (exclusive of donations)

Structural Pruning

 $2427

 

 2427

 

Site Preparation

 $1424

 

 1424

$15/site

Plant Materials:  Parks

 $3965

1955

 2010

$50/tree

Plant Materials: Easement

 $1400

2400

(1000)

$36/tree

Materials: of which cages are $1763.

 $2830

 

 2830

$23/tree

Total:

$12046

Total net:

$7691

Overall $74-88 per tree

 

Comments and Notes:

Materials/Site costs: ~$38 per planting, with $50 per park trees on average, and $36 per street tree average.

Cost range is $74-88 per tree planted.  Note that materials (like cages) have a 3-5 year life span, and about 50% can be re-used, depending on extent of mower damage.  Ooze tubes have been re-used since 2007, and some will need replacement in the next year.  Overall costs are higher in the parks, where all trees need sturdy cages, and where ornamental tree replacements cost more. Cherokee Princess Dogwoods, for example, cost $130 ea.

 The current Easement Program (through the Garden Club Tree Committee) requests donations for street trees at $75-100, and about 50% of those sites do not need cages because the tree is within the front yard.  We usually place cages on all trees within easements with sidewalks (tree is planted between road and sidewalk) and around trees where a lawn service does the mowing.  Donations for the easement trees have been adequate to cover most costs of that program, but not all owners actually make a donation to the program.  The fact that some people give more helps maintain the program.

Garden Club restricted funds held for tree restoration have been substantially used up in the current Parks replanting.

 Current vacancy rate (available sites) in the Parks is probably <10% (if most of the trees planted survive).  Only five ornamental trees (all dogwoods) are currently marked for removal (1 in Curlew, 2 in Oriole, 2 in Henderson).  The vacancy rate on street easements, however, may be 33-40% and will increase with loss of ashes (approximately 160 are on easements and more in front and side yards.)

Labor:

The major labor has been irrigation; approximately 60-65 sites were irrigated by Ooze tubes in 2012.  That number will fall to approximately 50 next year, with ~35 in parks. Homeowners are responsible for their own trees.   In the Parks, assistance for watering through placement of spigots into parks, and hiring seasonal City personnel to fill Ooze tubes would provide the most needed support for tree restoration.

 Future Costs & Budgeting Considerations

1.      Structural pruning needs in the Parks are still backlogged, and a cycle needs to be created and continued in each park.  It would cost about $2500 per year for about 3 years to catch up and initiate a cycle.

2.      Treatment of 12-14 ashes in Parks (out of 28) remains a priority, and will be on a 2-3 year basis, costing $10 per inch diameter, approximately $3500 - 4000 in 2013.

3.      The number of hazard trees in Parks will rise and peak as the ashes die off and need removal.  Falling ashes (and other hazard trees) may well damage some existing replacement plantings.

4.      Dogwood replacement will continue to be an ongoing issue. Both Oriole Park and Robin Park have many dogwood trees with major health problems and poor condition.  Triangle has been identified as a park where dogwoods have not done well over many years, and alternative ornamental plantings or highly resistant trees need to be placed in that site, with more aggressive and larger site remediation and preparation.

5.      The current drought cycle is likely to continue and will affect established plantings.  Putting spigots in each park would allow for prudent drip irrigation, particularly if monitored by use of Irrometer technology.


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Anne Bobigian,
Nov 26, 2012, 3:56 AM
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