Local residents value their trees, as was evidenced by last week’s Arbor Day celebration and the announcement that Larchmont has been named a “Tree City USA for the 29th consecutive year. But while children were helping plant the first of three bald cypress trees in Constitution Park on April 30, across town in Vanderburgh (Turtle) Park, a crew from Evergreen Arborists was taking down one of the Village’s oldest trees that had succumbed to Dutch elm disease[mappress].
Given the period in which much of Larchmont was developed, it’s no wonder that many of its trees, now reaching 100 or older, are coming to the end of their natural lifespan.
As the arborist explained, the effects of the Dutch elm disease could already be seen in the Turtle Park tree’s crown. The crown often shows the first sign of this fatal and infectious disease. Pulling a piece of bark off one of the pieces of trunk laying on the ground, he showed how the fungus was affecting the wood and providing easy access to insects. Removing the tree before the disease spread to other trees was the only option, he explained.
Jan Feinman, chair of the Village Parks and Trees Committee, said she frequently gets calls from Village residents who don’t understand why trees along their street are removed. Often the trees seem perfectly healthy to the untrained eye, she said, which is why the Village relies on the expertise of a certified arborist.
It’s a never-ending battle to replace old trees that are damaged in storms or must be taken down because of disease, and, in this economic climate, funds are limited. Ms. Feinman estimated only 30-40 trees will be planted on Village property this year unless Village residents take advantage of a new program to donate funds for additional plantings.
Trees can be donated for $650, which includes the tree, delivery and labor, planting materials, and a plaque with information about the tree, the donor and the honoree, if requested. While donors can request a type of tree and location for the planting, the final decision is made by the Parks and Trees Committee and the Department of Public Works.
For more information or to donate a tree, please email the Village Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Parks and Trees Committee as the subject.