From this week until
July 6, a small troop of young people, accompanied by state forester Tim Latz, will march along each of Clarks Summit’s streets with electronic devices in hand.
With funding provided by the state, these hikers will conduct a new inventory of each tree in the right-of-way within the borough. So no, they will not be trailblazing through your rose bushes to measure the diameter of your prized backyard magnolia tree.
They are also not there to answer all of your questions about the risk posed to your garage caused by the blue spruce your neighbor planted right next to the property line 30 years ago. Or whether your sick Japanese maple will survive this summer. But they will be discovering and documenting hazardous trees that present a risk to those below.
“Yes, all trees present a risk to those below, and that is why they make chainsaws,” I can hear some readers say. (Nearly all readers who contact me love trees, so maybe the homeowners who make statements like this need to become readers.) So some disgruntled tree stewards may find ammunition for telling the tree-huggers at the shade tree commission that a tree needs to come down. But, on the other hand, the information gathered by the future community servants will be fed into the data-generator powered by I-Tree, and a quantification of each tree’s benefits will be generated.
So by the end of the
summer, I can envision the following scenario.
“Commissioner Philbin, give me permission to remove the seven inch pin oak growing in the right-of-way in front of my house. It is a risk to all who pass by.” (In other words, “I got scratched by its low-hanging branches when I mowed the lawn, and I do not want to collect its leaves anymore.”)
I can hear Mrs. Philbin’s response: “Mr. Jones, when we look at the information on opentreemap.org, we can see not only that your tree was not listed as hazardous when surveyed in 2018, we can also see that your tree is providing an energy
savings of 409.4 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, or $22. We also see that your tree is filtering more than 600 gallons of stormwater annually, while also removing 189.2 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year. Its annual ecological benefits alone are worth at least $27 to you and your neighbors, not to mention the 10 percent or more of your real estate value. This tree is also part of the existing 33 percent canopy enjoyed by Clarks Summit residents, a number borough officials have promised the feds that they will increase. So do you really think I should give you permission?”
(These numbers are from a real borough tree already documented on the website by Mr. Latz).
JOSHUA ARP IS AN ISA-CERTIFIED MUNICIPAL SPECIALIST, CLARKS SUMMIT’S MUNICIPAL ARBORIST AND AN OPERATOR OF AN ORGANIC LAWN AND LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE BUSINESS. REACH HIM AT JOSARHUAP@AOL.COM.