Inventory: More than 100 trees at highest risk, need removed

Tree committee recommends planting plan for new trees

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A recent inventory of Crawfordsville’s urban forest counted more than 100 trees at highest priority for being removed, but the city currently doesn’t have a plan for replacing the trees properly.

Foresters from The Davey Tree Expert Co. identified 115 trees in neighborhoods and parks at “severe or significant risk,” said Crawfordsville Main Street project manager Sue Lucas, summarizing the company’s report Monday for the Crawfordsville/Montgomery County Economic Development Authority.

The trees would pose “significant or severe consequences” if they come down on their own, the report noted.

Those at highest risk make up a fraction of the 4,167 standing public trees the inventory listed and have been added to the work list for crews at the street department and Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power, Lucas said.

Arborists recommend planting four new trees for every one that’s replaced, which could add up to 460 trees to the city’s canopy. Crawfordsville’s urban forest provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in economic benefits, according to Davey’s report, and prevents nearly 7 million gallons of stormwater from ending up in the sewers.

The Crawfordsville Tree Committee is now calling on the city and other policymakers to consider adopting a planting program to help “bump up these economic, environmental benefits,” said Lucas, a committee member.

The committee puts three new trees in the ground each year and plans to plant another group this year, Lucas said.

Lucas cited research showing that city tree canopies help drive more customers to business districts.

“It influences buying behavior,” she said. “People will drive farther, they’ll stay longer, return more often and they’ll spend more money both on merchandise and parking where there’s a healthy tree canopy.”

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