The Haddonfield Board of Commissioners approved a new community forestry plan Tuesday during an regular action meeting at the Municipal Hall.
The plan details how the borough will manage nearly 10,000 trees in its public right-of-way. It's especially acute this year because of a near epidemic of disease affecting up to 20 percent of public shade trees, many of which are massive oak trees that provide a shade canopy throughout this 2.5-square-mile borough.
These are the key parts of the plan, which was recently detailed by :
- The borough must manage the increased requirement for tree removals, given the prevalence of Bacterial Leaf Scorch (BLS) in our urban forest. Over the next 10 years or so, we expect to remove approximately 1,800 more oaks, primarily red oaks and pin oaks, currently planted along the borough streets. The May 2010 inventory identified the location of these trees and their condition; at the time, approximately 60 percent showed signs of BLS. We have removed those in the most critical condition, but many more remain.
- In addition to the oak tree removals, the borough will continue to remove 40 or more trees of other species annually, as trees reach their end of lifespan or decline due to other reasons.
- Given the anticipated cost of this effort, the STC is working with the department of public works (DPW) to ensure most cost-effective tree removals by increasing the productivity of the borough's already productive tree crew and securing lower cost bids from our outside contractors. As it has been over two years since the inventory and tree conditions change, the STC, with the assistance of the volunteer Haddonfield Branch Managers and other residents, will reexamine the remaining oaks next summer and every two years thereafter to ensure that the removals continue to take down the most severely affected trees first.
- Finally, the STC is working to identify those trees planted by residents in the borough right-of-way, as it is the responsibility of the residents to manage the trees that they, not the borough, plant.
Developing a Volunteer Corp
- In 2012, the STC sponsored the Haddonfield Branch Managers, a 15-member volunteer corps of residents trained to perform street level pruning and willing to devote one morning monthly to this task. This past fall, another 10 residents completed the healthy tree workshop training program, offered through the Haddonfield Adult School; the majority of these recent trainees will join the branch managers.
- The branch managers are necessary as DPW does not have the resources for pruning our smaller trees and will provide important assistance in the inspection of the oak family inventory. They are also important in building public support and understanding of the shade tree program. The STC expects to continue to build out partnerships with other "green" organizations in the borough such as the Garden Club, the Green Team and the Camden County Master Gardeners.
Increasing Public Involvement
- The STC needs the support and understanding of borough residents regarding the costs and benefits of the shade tree management program, particularly the tree removals and the tree replacement plantings. The STC is looking at other elements of program such as the fall leaf cleanup to determine if cleanup costs can be reduced through public education regarding mulching and composting.
- This year, we focused on education through the annual community calendar, the tree tour available through the STC website and the trolley tours and chalk tree art at the 2012 Fall Festival.
- In 2013, we expect to work with the Green Team for an April 27 Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration at Crows Woods called "All Rhoads lead ... To Crows Woods" and a late September or early October community tree sale and planting called "Tricentennial Trees."
- Tricentennial Trees should allow some replacement of trees in the Haddonfield urban forest, as the borough planted very few trees in 2012 and expects to be unable to fund tree planting in 2013. We are beginning planning for this event now. At the Dec. 5 Tricentennial Volunteer Fair, we will begin recruiting for assistance in planning and running this event. The Tricentennial Trees event will promote the purchase and planting of trees by residents on private property as well as along borough streets.
- The STC is developing lower cost models for tree planting as it is important for the borough to resume planting in the upcoming years, given that we anticipate that the planned tree removals will take down approximately 20 percent of the borough's street trees.