A recent survey of trees in public spaces in Hannibal revealed no signs of the Emerald Ash Borer, which are decimating ash trees in parts of the country.
A recent survey of trees in public spaces in Hannibal revealed no signs of the Emerald Ash Borer, which are decimating ash trees in parts of the country. However, Cory Meyer, a project manager with The Davey Tree Expert Company which conducted the city’s tree survey, advised those in attendance at a public meeting Tuesday morning at city hall to consider dealing with ash trees now, instead of later.
“We recommend being proactive instead of waiting for them all to die,” said Meyer. “Once they die they become high risk.”
Meyer said once the Emerald Ash Borer has done its damage, it could take around seven years for the ash tree population to begin dying.
The survey revealed that just 5 percent of trees located on city right-of-ways, parks and city-maintained properties in Hannibal are ash.
“That’s extremely good,” said Meyer, noting that some communities have much higher concentrations of ash trees.
Maple trees (28 percent) make up the largest percentage of the city’s tree population surveyed. No. 2 is the elm (11 percent). Pear trees (6 percent) are No. 3.
Meyer urges the city to consider planting a wider variety of trees in the future.
“If a pest or disease were to move in you could lose 30 percent of your trees,” he said regarding maple trees.
The fact that 19 percent (368) of the city’s "street trees" were rated to be in “good” condition is “phenomenal,” according to Meyer. He also indicated its good news that a majority of public trees - 53 percent (1,016) – are in at least “fair” condition.
Meyer recommended that the city’s public trees be put on a five-year pruning cycle, which would mean that roughly 300 trees a year would receive attention.
On a financial basis, the survey concluded that
• Hannibal’s population of trees on city-owned land has a value of $3 million.
• The total approximate net benefits the inventoried tree population provides Hannibal is $113,000, which Meyer stressed is an annual benefit.
• The inventoried trees provide an annual savings to the city of approximately $11,174 in reduced energy consumption and $38,595 in storm-water retention.
The positive financial impact of trees is significant, according to Meyer, who said many cities view trees solely as a liability.
Following Meyer’s presentation, City Manager Jeff LaGarce outlined the benefits of the city’s planned tree farm.
“Right now we have some very sterile corridors. In five to 10 years they’ll be ‘treescape’ corridors,” he said. “We’ll be able to do some cool beautification things.”