Piqua offering tree planting program


By Haylee Pence

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PIQUA – The city of Piqua is offering a tree planting program, the Bare-Roots Tree Program, in which city residents can apply for a tree to be planted in the tree lawn — the area between the curb and sidewalk — for no cost.

The trees will be planted by the city, but residents are expected to maintain upkeep and care of the tree.

This program was enacted in response to the invasive emerald ash borer, which is known for its destruction of the native Ash tree. The emerald ash borer is native to Asia and was introduced to America around 2002 when it was first noticed in Michigan. Since the beetle is an invasive species, there is no natural predator to help control the growing population. Another reason the beetle population growth is the lack of defense the ash tree has against the foreign beetle. This is why the ash tree population is in danger, and why the city of Piqua wants to introduce new trees to the area.

The trees will be between six-foot and 12-foot tall. The program is a “first-come, first-served basis,” according to the city of Piqua’s Forester Bob Graeser. The request for a tree must come from the property owner. Graeser and his team will examine properties based on a variety of qualifications and select a tree based on the property. Graeser stated, “The trees that are selected as street trees are non-flowering.” Further selection of the tree species being planted will include availability and structure of the tree. Graeser said, “We will then give the property owner the option selection based on the trees ordered.”

Graeser and his team will examine properties for qualifications such as overhead wires, underground utilities, local traffic restrictions, and a four-foot tree lawn.

This program has been available in the past. The city of Piqua has been planting bare-roots trees for several years. According to Graeser, the city planted 90 bare root trees throughout the city last year. They have also planted several ball and burlap trees, which “are considerably larger and require much more labor to plant.”

The planting of the trees is slated for late April through early May. Any locations for tree planting will be marked with a flag along with locations of utilities. Graeser is asking residents to not move the flags once placed.

The final date for requests is March 16. In order to request a tree, you can contact the Engineering Department at 937-778-2044 with your name and address. If you live on a corner, also add which street you prefer the tree to be planted on.

The city of Piqua will also be planting trees in local parks and other open areas to “try and bolster a great variety of native trees in our city,” stated Graeser.

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