Downtown trees removed, Tree Board to approve work plan

On Tuesday, January 30, two volunteers from the Town of Bath Tree Board removed five small, dead trees along Washington Street between Union and Liberty Streets.

The work done by volunteers is part of a $15,000 Demonstration City Grant from the WV Division of Forestry for fiscal year 2024.

In the coming months, grant funds will be used to remove several large, dead trees from the entrance to the old section of Greenway Cemetery.

A large, failing Bartlett Pear at the corner of Washington and Independence Streets will also be removed and stumps in heavily trafficked areas will be ground down to prevent tripping.

Craig Deane, a retired arborist and Town of Bath Tree Board volunteer, cut down a hawthorn tree on North Washington Street. The trunk grew at a 45-degree angle, which put the tree at increased risk for falling down in the event of strong winds or heavy snowfall.
photo courtesy of Kate Lehman

Replacement trees will be planted, although not necessarily in exact same place where trees were removed.

The dead limbs of a large, old sugar maple at the west end of the Depot Lot will be trimmed to extend the life of the tree while reducing potential risk to persons or property.

A treatment of micro-nutrient boosters has already been applied to several “failure to thrive” trees lining the central road in the new part of Greenway Cemetery.

The Demonstration City Grant has a 50/50 match. Volunteers engage in various projects which are assigned a dollar value to “raise” $15,000 for an in-kind match. The state assigns a value of $248.00 to the four hours of work done by each volunteer on Tuesday.

The decision of what projects to undertake during this grant year were based upon recommendations made in The Town of Bath Tree Inventory and Management Plan provided by Bartlett Tree Experts in 2023. The plan identifies problems and assigns an estimate-of-risk to various trees in town.

The Tree Board is in the process of creating a 3-year workplan for future grant applications. The overarching outline of the plan is fourfold: determine what trees will be removed; plant new trees to replace those that have been removed; trim or brace dead limbs of large healthy trees to reduce the risk of failure; and determine what treatments will enhance the health of ailing trees.

Before the three-year plan has been submitted to the Town Council for approval, the Tree Board will hold public meetings designed to receive input from members of the community.

An ongoing and coordinated plan to ensure the health and beauty of the town’s trees is important. Various studies note the economic, social and psychological value of urban trees. In towns with healthy, well cared for trees, businesses flourish, people shop longer and spend more, apartments and office spaces rent more quickly, tenants stay longer, property values increase, and new businesses are attracted to the area.