Trees and the CIP

Commissioner Lahendro's recommendation
Last night the Planning Commission recommended the approval of the Capital Improvement budget with some important additions. One of the additions was brought on by Commissioner Lahendro’s commentary on the amount for trees requested by Parks&Recreation: (read the story at Charlottesville Tomorrow)

The 2018 CIP proposal in front of us now includes $50,000 per year for the Urban Tree Preservation and Planting line item.  This represents a 60% reduction in Parks & Rec original request for $125,000 to perform this work.  The original request was carefully considered with input from the Tree Commission.  This line item must cover maintenance and preservation of city owned trees that includes:  1) treatments for Emerald Ash Borer and Dutch Elm Disease (estimated at $20K); 2) structural pruning and arboreal maintenance of downtown mall trees and Corner trees (estimated at $25K); and, 3) arboreal maintenance of other city trees in parks, road right-of-ways, schools, etc. (estimated at $30K).  Proactively maintaining and preserving the City’s existing trees alone will cost $25,000 MORE than this CIP’s total amount.  Needless to say, there will be no funds available for planting new trees or replacing trees that are removed due to storm damage or age. 
 
This news is especially disturbing coming on the heels of last year’s Tree Canopy Study which found that Charlottesville experienced a canopy loss of 6.2% (roughly 420 acres) over the past ten years. 
 
Parks & Rec was able to offset insufficient funding for City trees in recent years with the infusion of VDOT funding for the parkway and route 29 projects.  That funding is now gone.  The 2013 Comprehensive Plan’s goal to “expand and protect the overall tree canopy of the City” cannot be achieved with the currently proposed CIP funding level.  To simply maintain the City’s current trees will require about $75,000.  To meet Tree Commission recommendations to plant 200 new trees per year, at a cost of about $50,000, will require a total CIP funding level of $125,000.  I urge the Planning Commission and City Council to increase the Urban Tree Preservation and Planting CIP line item to $125,000.  To accept the proposed, much reduced CIP funding level is to knowingly decrease protection and maintenance of the City’s existing trees and totally eliminate the planting of new trees.  The City’s tree canopy will continue to decline along with the health and financial benefits it provides to our community.

Lady Bird Johnson would be pleased

RT 20 south looking toward I-64
The trees in the foreground were planted by CATS and the Tree Commission December 2015. Saturday November 5 volunteers converged on this section of highway to do it again, but larger… 73 trees
holes were predrilled
Tree planting basics, a tree, a hole, water, mulch. Holes were predrilled by Windridge Landscaping of Afton.
A challenging place to work, 15,000+ vehicles per day in 2012. One of the worst places in CHO to bicycle.
A challenging place to work, 15,000+ vehicles per day in 2012. One of the worst places in CHO to bicycle.
tulip trees
Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards planting liriodendron tulipfera
tree #1
Tree Commission chair Paul Josey
bare root
Bare root, the way to go.
CATS workers
Many hands speed the work. Everyone involved.
The National Guard arrives.
The National Guard arrives. Planting bare root trees not an Army MOS (Military Occupational Speciality)
Guard members get a quick tutorial.
Guard members get a quick tutorial.
Bremo Trees was the source of the bare root stock.
Bremo Trees was the source of the bare root stock, Swamp White Oaks, Tulip trees, Kentucky Coffee trees and American Elms
Paul Josey giving pointers on the bare root procedure. Critical that trees not be planted too deep.
Paul Josey giving pointers on the bare root procedure. Critical that trees not be planted too deep.
Cooperative effort, many players, Ballyshannon Fund, CATS, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Charlottesville Tree Commission, National Guard, Bremo Trees
Cooperative effort, many players, Ballyshannon Fund, CATS, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Charlottesville Tree Commission, National Guard, Bremo Trees, Virginia Department of Forestry, Journey Through Hallowed Ground
Planting a tree instead of a flag. Charlottesville tomorrow has the story.
Planting a tree instead of a flag. Charlottesville tomorrow has the story.(It turns out that was a need for five additional holes. The Guard dug those!)

taking no chances

public bathroom Portland OR

(Oregon. Public bathroom. An abundance of TP. Someone is planning ahead.)

“Making toilet paper from the trees
Manufacturers don’t use all types of trees to make paper. Toilet paper is generally made from “virgin” paper, using a combination of softwood and hardwood trees (a combination of approximately 70% hardwood and 30% softwood).”–Toiletpaperhistory.net

Maladera castanea

picking them off by hand
Maladera castanea (the asiatic garden beetle) flies and eats at night.
AGBs belong to the order Coleoptera. The order contains more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms.
I am having a yearly run in with these insects. They function like a self reproducing electric utility. They top trees, preferentially feeding on new growth at the top of trees: “the terminal leader”.
The AGB is a major drag on my afforestation effort. The establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there hasn’t been forest for centuries is a challenge. All the complexity has been removed, roots, biomass, beneficial fungi, and that has created a zone that is remarkably hostile to young trees, a fragile system.
Complexity is good in natural systems. When people farm, the complex system is removed. The dirt remains, to be used as a media for the desired plant making chemicals to promote growth and chemicals to control insects necessary.