City plants trees and gives some away to celebrate Arbor Day

  • Volunteers from Tree Northampton loosen the roots of one of the four black gum trees they planted on Conz Street in Northampton on Friday, April 27, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Rob Postel of the Northampton Public Shade Tree Commission trims some vestigial roots from a black gum tree being planted on Conz Street in Northampton on Friday, April 27, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Volunteers from Tree Northampton plant one of five London plane trees on Conz Street in Northampton on Friday, April 27, 2018. From left are Jen Wenz and Faye Minsky, both of Northampton, Mac Almeida of Turners Falls, Sean Sturmer of Colrain and Molly Moses of Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Volunteers from Tree Northampton make sure a black gum tree is plumb in its space before planting it on Conz Street in Northampton on Friday. From left are Molly Moses of Northampton, Sean Sturmer of Colrain, Mac Almeida of Turners Falls, Rob Postel with the Northampton Public Shade Tree Commission and Faye Minsky of Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

@BeraDunau
Published: 4/27/2018 11:38:42 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Nine shade trees were planted in front of the Daily Hampshire Gazette building at 115 Conz St. on Friday, as part of the city’s nod to Arbor Day and a wider campaign to restore the tree canopy in Northampton.

The trees replace four apple trees that were cut down this month because of their age and condition, and to make way for the shade trees.

“It’s all for a good reason,” said Michael Rifanburg, the publisher of the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

He said that he was approached by the Northampton Public Shade Tree Commission this winter about the project.

“We put a little plan together,” said Richard Parasiliti Jr., Northampton’s tree warden.

The commission has significantly increased the number of tree plantings in the city to about 250 a year for the last four years, with 248 planted in 2017. The commission tries to do high-profile plantings, like the one in front of the Gazette that used both volunteers and city workers, on Arbor Day.

Also to mark Arbor Day, the city gave out free young trees in front of Northampton’s City Hall on Friday. The tree giveaways, which include sugar maple, common lilac, red oak, sweet gum and balsam fir, will continue at City Hall Saturday, from 8 a.m. to noon.

Mayor David Narkewicz, who also issued an Arbor Day proclamation, praised the work of the Shade Tree Commission.

“This has been a really dedicated and hard-working group of citizens,” he said.

He noted that the commission had its first meeting in 2015, and that it was awarded a state grant to do a tree inventory last year. The matching grant was for $30,000.

Narkewicz noted the important role that trees play in the city for both drainage and climate change fighting purposes.

“They’re an important piece of our infrastructure,” the mayor said. The city budgeted $40,000 for shade tree planting in fiscal 2018.

Rifanburg said that initially the plan was to keep the apple trees in place at the Gazette alongside the shade trees. However, it was determined that this would not be the healthiest course of action and, given the age of the trees, it would be best if they were removed.

Rifanburg said that a number of people had asked why the trees were coming down and Robert Diemand, the Gazette’s facilities manager who removed the trees, said that a number of people from inside and outside the building expressed concern.

Diemand also said that Robert Postel, of the shade tree commission, informed him that the apple trees had caught a blight, and were on the decline.

The nine new trees in front of the Gazette won’t be fruit-bearing, but they will be tall.

The five London plane trees planted on the public right-of-way in front of the building can grow from 75 to 100 feet tall, while the four black gum trees planted on the Gazette property can grow 50 to 80 feet tall, according to Parasiliti.

Both trees are native to this area, and Parasiliti said they should provide an alley of greenery once both sets of trees are mature, as well as providing a vegetative screen for the Gazette.

Some local examples of mature London plane trees are the towering London plane trees that border Maines Field in Florence.

As for the apple trees, some of their wood may enjoy a second life. Bill Foster, prepress manager at the Gazette, has taken some of the apple wood home to see if he can do woodworking with it. He also plans to use some of it in his smoker.

“We’ll be using it,” Foster said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

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