The old adage “bigger is better” has been proven false on numerous occasions. The Hannibal Tree Board hopes smaller proves best when it comes to the survival of trees on South Main Street.

The old adage “bigger is better” has been proven false on numerous occasions. The Hannibal Tree Board hopes smaller proves best when it comes to the survival of trees on South Main Street.

After watching a handful of trees next to the B & B Theaters Main Street Cinema 8 either die, or show significant signs of decline, plans were in the works to re-plant new trees this fall. However, rather than put more larger Skyline Locust in the ground, the Tree Board is proposing that smaller Skyline Honeylocust be planted instead.

“This will be an experiment,” said Kristy Trevathan, Tree Board chairwoman.

Not only will the size of tree being planted be different, there will be a change in who is paying for the next round of plantings. While B & B Theaters had indicated a willingness to pay for the replacement trees, the Tree Board will be offering to pick up the bill.

“We do not want them (B & B) to have to pay for an experiment,” said Ed Tamerius, Tree Board member.

Going with smaller trees will be more budget friendly. It was estimated the Honeylocust will cost around $69 per tree. Two years ago B & B Theaters paid $1,750 for five trees, which averages out to $350 per tree. This year’s bids for five more Skyline Locust were $2,500 and $3,250.

“I’d hate for them (B & B) to spend that kind of money and wind up in the same situation,” said Trevathan.

Before the “experiment” on South Main is launched, more prep work in the planting zones is planned. When one tree was removed on Sept. 25, Tree Board members on hand were concerned with what they saw in the hole.

“It did not appear to be a good planting situation,” said Trevathan, noting a lot of “rubble” was in the hole. “There was hardly any soil at all.”

Also worrisome was the fact the root ball of the tree pulled in late September was still wrapped in burlap and wire.

Kyle Monroe of the Missouri Department of Conservation, and a Tree Board advisor, noted that research has shown when wire is left on a tree’s root ball when it is planted it restricts the growth of the life-giving roots.

Tamerius urged that when the next round of trees is planted, more should be done to enhance their chances of survival.

“We’re better off doing it (planting) properly and not have another loss of trees,” he said.

On Tuesday morning an attempt was made by Street Department personnel to remove the remaining four trees adjacent to the theater. While three came out without an issue, one refused to budge. Tom Barton of the Street Department said he stopped tugging on the resistant tree out of concern it might damage the concrete sidewalk around the tree. Barton added he would return at some point in the near future with a backhoe, rather than the loader, and try again.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com .