Goshen News, Goshen, IN

April 20, 2014

Many people looking out for Goshen’s trees

Goshen News

---- — Here is what my Wednesday consisted of, at least until noon.

The first thing I needed to do that morning was put up the Maple City Arbor Day Celebration banner at the entrance to the Rieth Interpretive Center. I’ve had the banner riding around with me in the truck since Monday, because I didn’t have a frame yet to hang it on out by Plymouth Avenue. But it had to happen this morning, so I got a couple 2-by-4s, pipe clamps and eye screws, and fastened it all together and hung the banner.

The water-wagon, which volunteers use to water trees during the summer, was ready to be picked up at the city garage where it had been for some routine maintenance. But first I needed to stop at Mill Street Park to drop off some T-poles and shovels in preparation for our volunteer tree planting on Saturday. I also needed to make one final check to be sure the trees match the sites that I marked out a couple weeks ago. (By the time you’re reading this, the planting will have taken place, I’m confident, with lots of wonderful volunteer help from across Goshen, including donated dougnuts from Dutch Maid Bakery and pizza from Papa Johns)

From Mill Street Park, I headed over to the municipal nursery, before swinging by the garage. I needed to make sure the nursery was open so that contractors could get in there to keep digging the 70 trees we are harvesting this spring. They began digging late yesterday afternoon, and I was pleased to see tulip trees and red buds nicely burlapped, waiting to be moved and planted around town. It’s pretty incredible to me — thinking back to the tiny whips that they were when planted four years ago — to see all these trees ready to be transplanted.

Finally, I was ready to head over to the garage to pick up the water-wagon. They’d looked it over and gotten it road-worthy for another summer of what I am sure will be heavy use. Those guys do a great job of keeping all our equipment running and working and moving.

So I brought the water-wagon back to the parks maintenance building to drop it off. As I pulled in, Rich stopped me and said that a couple of the young trees we planted last fall at Shanklin Park had been pushed over by someone. Just after I unhitched the wagon, Little Sherry came up to me and said someone had broken half the limbs off of a crabapple over at Bakersfield Park.

So, instead of heading over to South Third Street to hammer in stakes for street trees as I had planned, I stopped first at Shanklin. Sure enough, a small swamp white oak and black tupelo were tipped completely over. I had to pull each of them out, re-dig the holes, and re-set each tree, making sure the roots weren’t damaged. I tucked them in snuggly once again. Then it was over to Bakersfield where this poor crabapple had indeed been tortured and twisted and broken. I pruned off what I could and cleaned up some nasty wounds as well as possible. Trees are exceedingly tough creatures, but why anyone would injure them this way is beyond me.

Then I headed back to my office to make some calls about trees to be planted on Arbor Day, one at the Goshen Middle School, and one at the Rieth Interpretive Center. By then it was noon, and I was ready for lunch.

What I’m really trying to say is that caring for our trees takes plenty of help and involvement from many people. I’m lucky in that I get to see who and how many. The roles each of us play keeps our urban forest healthy. And all these trees in turn make our city liveable in a way few other things do. Trees are worth a special observance. So here is the plug for our annual Arbor Day Celebration. Come over to the Rieth Interpretive Center on Friday from 5 until 7 p.m. We’ll have the Model Elementary third-grade choir singing, interactive games, the Science 2 Go Bus, tree climbing, a tree giveaway, live music, food, some awards, and a beautiful evening.

Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley is Goshen’s urban forester. He can be reached at aaronkingsley@maplenet.net or at 537-0986