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Sheffield Tree Project Brings Back Trees

By Cindy Herrmann, Mogul Marketing

Tom Ingersoll explains the proper way to plant a tree before the planting starts. Tom feels community education is an integral part to the Sheffield Tree Project's mission. Photos courtesy of Ray Herrmann, Mogul Marketing

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Tom Ingersoll of Webster Ingersoll, Inc. a landscape design/build company has been partners of the Sheffield Tree Project, a Community Tree Board that raises money and plants trees along the town's streets and in many other public places. Late in the fall, Tom and his company along with a core group of volunteer board members joined in for the Annual Community Planting Day which planting of Sugar Maples, Red Maples, Red Oaks, White Oaks, American Sycamores, Crabapples, and many disease-resistant American elms were planted.

A John Deere 460 tracker loader is used to move and carefully place new elm trees into hand dug holes at the Bushnell-Sage Library. Volunteers provide support and make sure that the hole is the proper depth.

Since 2002, Tom and the Sheffield Tree Project has planted over 100 trees on private and public lands along the streets of Sheffield, in the Town Park, on The Green, at the Bushnell-Sage Library, and on the campuses of Undermountain and Mount Everett Schools.

Old photographs of Sheffield show an enchanting, living canopy over Main Street that was created by rows of majestic trees lining both sides of the road. In 1931, shipments of infected elm veneer logs from France to Ohio accidentally introduced the elm Dutch Elm Disease (DED) fungus into the United States. Since then, over 70 Million American elms have died from the disease. Tom Ingersoll says, species diversity is important to help make sure we do not have that happen again. Meanwhile, we are restoring the American elm as well.

After the tree is placed in the hole, and the hole has been backfilled, Tom Ingersoll attaches three Berkshire tree ties to low crotches in each tree, and to Berkshire Earthwing tree stakes at ground level.

Spacing, staking and tying up

Tom feels responsible for the proper establishment of any tree they plant, and proper staking is part of that so, Tom takes time out to teach the proper way of planting, staking and tying down of the newly planted tress. It is important for us to stake larger trees at planting time, especially since our clients are often part-time residents. Community trees also receive little attention so we want to make sure they are straight and true until the stabilizing roots establish. Tom prefers to use Berkshire tree ties because the material has a little give so that trees can begin to sway while staked, but without being uprooted.

Generally we keep trees staked for a year at most, then it is very important for the tree to sway naturally, which makes for a strong trunk. Some small trees and shrubs do not need stakes at all. It's a judgment call, and again, we like to play it safe. Everyone has their own method, but I like to install three Earthwings, spaced equally around the tree and so the ties will be at about a 45-degree angle. I tie a static bowline knot in the tree tie around the main stem above a high, wide union, then install a Dutchman's loop about 2-3 feet up from the Earthwing loop. After you have passed the tree tie through the Earthwing loop, pass it through the Dutchman for easy adjustment and tensioning of the three guys to keep the tree straight. Wind will loosen the ties, so adjustability is handy!

You can learn more about community forestry from the Alliance for Community Trees and by reading about the Tree City USA program.

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August 23, 2019, 9:44 am PDT

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