This summer the City of Richmond Heights did an extensive tree pruning and culling program. Many residents were upset and did not understand why trees were being cut. On my street arborists cut down a mature maple in the city-managed "right of way". Even though the residents jockeyed to park beneath its shade in summer, the tree cutters said that there was insufficient room for its roots in the right of way, that the roots threatened nearby underground utilities, and that the weak limbs were a hazard to pedestrians and parked cars during snow and ice storms.
This past week, the City arborists showed up with a truck bed full of trees. They dug holes, planted, and staked the young trees. These included Bald Cypress, red buds (a native Missouri understory tree), a Black Gum (no gumballs on this one to rake up!), and a Lace-bark Elm.
The elm is Chinese in origin, so does not suffer from the dreaded Dutch Elm Disease like its American cousin. Like the American Elm it is a vase shaped tree of spreading proportions when full grown. Its bark is an interesting feature and is a patchwork of cinnamon and tan markings. There are specimen trees according to the arborists on Buck and at the corner of Sunset and Wise Aves (pictured here).
So, "hats off" and kudos to the Urban Forestry Program of Richmond Heights. We may not rival University City or Webster Groves for their old trees, but the City of Richmond Heights is looking to honor any trees which might be 100 years old as part of its centennial celebration in 2013. I take my notebook to record tree locations on my walks and have already found a burr oak, a pin oak, and a sycamore in my neighborhood which I will nominate to the centennial tree list.
Look around your neighborhood and let me know if you think you have a century tree candidate. I will forward the information to the City to check out. Happy Tree Hunting!