City secures U.S. grant to replace downtown trees

The city has received nearly $15,000 in federal funds to replace more than 30 trees in downtown Lawrence.

Officials say the grant will speed the normal process of replacing downtown trees. Because they're constricted by concrete planters, the trees don't get very big and can't live very long.


Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo

Through a federal grant, Lawrence is in the process of replacing 50 trees downtown. Monday, Crystal Miles, the city's horticulture supervisor, inspected a Linden tree in the 600 block of Massachusetts Street that will be replaced.

"The average life of an urban city tree is seven years," said Crystal Miles, the city's horticulture supervisor. "We've done real well � ours last about 20. We've taken good care of the trees and given them room to grow with big planters."

Some of the trees being removed, she said, were planted when the city renovated the downtown streetscape in 1972.

The city received word of the $14,800 grant last week. It will help the city pay to remove 30 trees along Massachusetts Street and in downtown parking lots. Removal began in March, Miles said. Fifty new trees will be planted in their place, probably starting later this month.

Many of the older trees are already dead, with trunk diameters ranging from 4 to 12 inches. The new trees will initially have trunk diameters of from 2 to 3 inches.

Miles said the city replaces about 15 trees downtown every year. Eight horticulturists on staff spend about a third of their time tending the others.

"We consider it a park," Miles said of the downtown area, which along with trees includes other planters along the street.

Despite the speedier life cycle, Miles said there were good reasons to continue tree planting downtown.

"Trees downtown enhance the quality of life," she said. "They bring shade, soften noise and cool down the pavement � pedestrians are friendlier and the pavement lasts longer."


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