Following a national election, crowds gathered with a shared purpose. It was a purpose that did not have the divide politics can create but instead a proud community achievement—to plant trees. New trees line streets and sidewalks in the Peninsula Neighborhood, some of which have been missing for as long as eight years. The trees were part of an effort to continue to improve the neighborhood and shade its walkable network of sidewalks and streets. This project has been organized by the PNA board and headed by board member, Nathan Knause.
“We wanted to replace missing trees to help improve the look of the neighborhood,” says Knause about a number of empty areas throughout the neighborhood where trees had died and have been awaiting replacement. Street trees reside within the right-away, the area between the sidewalk and curb, which is owned by the City but maintained by the homeowner of the parcel. Replacement of trees is through the Parks and Forestry Department at the City. Knause says during a meeting with the City about the neighborhood parks; he inquired about trees waiting replacement. The City said there was a waiting time of a couple of years and no guarantee they would get to them “This was lost time for the trees to grow,” says Knause. “So during our HOA board meeting I brought up the idea of replacing the street trees by using some of the landscaping budget.”
Knause approached the Boy Scouts Council office for a list of local troops in the area and was given Troop 204’s contact info. To assist the Boy Scouts, Knause worked with a number of local experts to organize the project. Beginning with Zachary Hall, Parks Superintendent in the Parks and Forestry Department at the City of Iowa City, he was able to get information on tree species assignment. Tree assignment, which come from the Parks and Forestry Department, are assigned to ensure the urban forest is dynamic but also to maintain the maximum amount of visual and biological diversity. A local nursery delivered eight different tree species. “Zac also suggested working with Hannah Howard to assist the Boy Scouts,” says Knause. Hannah Howard is the Southeast Iowa Field Coordinator for Trees Forever and has led a number of tree planting projects. “Hannah was very helpful and a big asset in helping round-out the project.”
To ensure the trees are long-lasting, fall was selected as the best time to plant as they go dormant and are less active. This encourages root growth when the hot spring temperatures return. To further ensure the tree longevity, Knause worked with Lee Southwick at Quality Care, to organize mulch and compost. He also asked the board to be allowed a variance and exception to the covenants regarding trees planted to have a 2” diameter to allow smaller trees with 1.5” diameter to develop a stronger root growth. “The size and weight were better too” Knause says referring to the Boy and younger Cub Scouts who showed up to assist with planting. Thirty-two trees were planted in just under a few hours.
Article: November 29, 2016
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