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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Saplings on order for city’s new tree farm

  • The establishment of a city-owned “tree farm” took a major step toward becoming a reality last month when an order for 160 trees was placed. The saplings are expected to arrive some time in late March to early April.
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  • The establishment of a city-owned “tree farm” took a major step toward becoming a reality last month when an order for 160 trees was placed. The saplings are expected to arrive some time in late March to early April.
    The trees are being purchased from the Missouri Department of Conservation, which offers a sapling purchase program at minimal cost.
    “In early April, the city will plant 160 trees for a total cost of $108,” wrote City Manager Jeff LaGarce in a memo to the City Council and Park Board. “If purchased from a nursery, assuming a conservative $150 per tree, the cost would be $24,000.”
    LaGarce believes the tree farm will make fiscal sense.
    “We know we’ll experience tree mortality at the tree farm, though we don’t know the percentage. Even if we have a 50 percent mortality rate, we’ll still have a heck of a lot of trees,” said LaGarce during last week’s Tree Board meeting. “In the end, this project may, or may not provide any net tangible benefit, but with potential savings in the thousands (over buying trees commercially grown)…
    “This tree farm will (ultimately) cost only $324 to plant and minimal cost to maintain. I’m excited. I think it’s a cool project.”
    The city-grown trees will not be sold commercially.
    “I do not want to compete with the private sector, which is tantamount to using their tax dollars against them,” said LaGarce. “I wish to use these trees for our own internal purposes, save money and increasingly beautify the community.”
    The city’s “internal (use) purposes” include replacing trees removed during city projects, planting in parks and along city right-of-way areas where space allows. Trees also will be made available to the Board of Public Works when it wishes to replace trees that were removed as a result of utility-line maintenance.
    A piece of flood-buyout property, located at 1107 Carr St., will be the site of the farm. LaGarce noted the location “lacks many attributes required for a quality park.”
    “It’s a great use for one of our 42 flood properties,” said the city manager.
    It is estimated the 0.7 acre tract will accommodate almost 500 trees. Over a three-year period all the available slots will be filled, providing the city with an assortment of trees to choose from annually.
    “Some 150 to 160 trees should be planted/harvested annually,” said LaGarce. “We have no desire to harvest 482 trees in any one year, nor find ourselves in a position where harvestable trees are only available to us every third year.”
    Page 2 of 2 - An assortment of tree types are on order: Red Bud, 25 trees ordered; Dogwood, 25; Bur Oak, 25; Bald Cyprus, 25; Washington Hawthorne, 10; Black Cherry, 10; Pitch Loblolly Pine, 10; River Birch, 10; Silver Maple, 10; and Sycamore, 10. The trees on order have a variety of maximum heights, ranging from the 25-foot Washington Hawthorne to the 95-foot Bald Cyprus.
     
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