Decorah, IA (May 5, 2022) – The City of Decorah Tree Board planted 29 trees last Thursday and Friday to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. Black Hills Energy and Trees Forever have partnered to offer a tree planting program known as “Power of Trees”. Through this partnership, the Tree Board was awarded a grant, which funded the planting. On May 14th, 35 more trees will be planted as part of this grant.
The Decorah Tree Board has been planting trees to replace ash trees that were removed due to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation. Since 2019, the Tree Board has planted over 100 trees in boulevards/Right-of-Ways (ROW) throughout the City of Decorah. When choosing trees to replant, tree diversity was one of the most important considerations. Diversity among tree species is important to help avoid widespread tree loss due to infectious diseases or a pest infestation. The more diverse the urban tree canopy is, the healthier it is. When homeowners plant a tree, maple and crabapple trees should be avoided. Both are overpopulated in Decorah. The Acer (maple) genus makes up about 50 percent of the City’s urban tree canopy just in the boulevards/ROWs (not counting those on private property).
City Forester Sam Hogenson strongly encourages tree diversity, “Before EAB, our urban tree canopy consisted of about 15 percent of trees from the Fraxinus (ash) genus. Now, only treated ash trees will survive in the boulevard/ROW. The effects of losing so many ash trees has had a significant impact on our community. The removed trees would have offered benefits such as cleaner air, stormwater retention, and lower cooling costs, just to name a few. Since their removal, homes, parks, streets, parking lots, etc., are no longer receiving the benefits once offered by those trees. That was only 15 percent of the urban tree canopy, now imagine if a pest or disease attacked our maple trees and 50 percent of the trees remaining in the boulevards/ROWs were suddenly gone. The effects of losing so many trees would be drastic.”
So, when you decide to plant a tree in the boulevard/ROW or on private property, please consider the trees around you. Chances are, there are several maple or crabapple trees nearby. Choose something less common to plant and help ensure that our urban tree canopy is healthy and here for future generations to enjoy!