Forestry & the Spring Planting Program
by Otto Jacob, Forester
A Note: Nationwide are the efforts of foresters to steer folks away from planting maples. It is very risky to plant mostly one species of tree that is grown in towns and cities. A lesson learned when the ash trees were wiped out by a bark beetle that left many communities with few trees. A serious scare also came when the Asian long-horned beetle killed almost every maple in some communities before they finally eliminated the infestation. Most times the insect cannot be controlled in time. Now, my nursery sources say that ten percent, or less, of tree orders to cities are maples. Thus, we are trying to encourage the planting of other tree species to balance out the varieties in Norway to encourage long term shade, beauty and tempering of the city climate.
In our parks we seek to have a variety of sizes, shapes, fruiting, and flowering, to encourage wildlife and a cool, moist, green place.
On our boulevards we seek to grow strong, stable, semi-shady trees that won’t drop too much debris and keep an open and clear visibility.
- Honey locust. The shademaster or skyline varieties are seed pod free so that makes this a very attractive medium sized tree. This is a very popular tree because it tolerates so many soils and conditions and is mostly trouble free. It has moderate shade so grass can grow under it better.
- Kentucky coffee tree: I first encountered this tree in an Ontonagon city. I happened to see it during its bloom and I never forgot the beauty. I believe it was very fragrant. The nursery man tells me that it is tough as woodpecker lips and trouble free. It is not anything stunning when it is small, but he says as it gets to tree size, soon after planting, it is very beautiful.
- Linden: This is a relative to basswood, which grows very well in our soils. We have medium quality sandy soils mostly in Norway. This is a good city tree that has lovely form and is a proven winner. Due to the high demand for trees this year, we will have some variety substitutions but I will be recommending the shamrock variety.
- Maple: The royal red is popular, but is too fragile and sun scalds it badly. The Autumn Blaze is a tough and attractive choice. Remember, maples should not be favored until we balance the species diversity in town.
- Elm: The new elms are very disease-resistant. These are old favorites in towns. They give long lives and trouble free high shade growing like a vase, spreading as they grow up. The New Horizon is the first recommendation of the growers.
- Parks trees: We would do well to grow wildlife trees like black walnut; buckeye (there is one by the highway in Quinnesec—it is magnificent but drops nuts); Sargent crab; Kentucky coffee; elm; and Ivory Silk Lilac. Strawberry Lake Park would be a possible space for weeping willow by the water, plum trees, and some disease-free apple trees.
Dead and dying trees will be trimmed and/or removed as time permits. If they pose a threat to safety, they will be prioritized. If they do not, they will be addressed during the City's next round of tree management, or, homeowners themselves may have the tree(s) trimmed or removed; there are contractors in this area who can be hired to do this.
Tree limbs in power lines will, of course, be treated by the City as a safety risk. Please keep in mind that this is an immediate safety issue only if the tree is extremely close to, or touching, the line. If there is one foot or more of space between the wood and the wire, do not be alarmed—and this will not warrant removal of the tree. If you are concerned about limbs that are just inches away from a line, City staff can assess the level of safety risk and proceed accordingly.
To report a tree-related problem, call 563-9961. Thank you for your patience, cooperation, and participation in keeping our community healthy and growing.