I’ve spoken before about returning to Greenfield when I was in the Navy or living in California. The two things I always longed to see was the city building’s clock tower as I approached town and the tree-lined streets upon entering. At that time both Washington and Jefferson Streets were lined with mature trees that formed a beautiful green canopy of shade for all to enjoy. That came to an abrupt end with the arrival of a blight back in the early 70s that wiped out the maples trees. Since that time little has been done to restore that beauty and I think it is about time to get started.
Ron Dudley and the village government have formed a Tree Commission to address the problem and I know a plan exists. However, a major planting of trees is not an inexpensive undertaking. Greening Greater Greenfield has agreed to replace some of the trees around the city building and I was shocked at the cost of a single semi-mature tree suitable for the setting.
In 2012 I was driving along the Hudson River in New York and was smitten by the efforts of small towns to keep up their tree canopies. Obviously those communities had a plan in effect and the main streets were lined with a variety of decorative locust tree. I’ve spoken to Ron and he is aware of the specie and it would be a great choice for Greenfield. It is relatively inexpensive, hardy, fast growing, and long-lasting.
While I’m not involved with the Tree Commission it would be nice for them to advertise a standard specie, locate affordable sources for purchase, and
encourage property owners, especially along Washington and Jefferson Streets to take it upon themselves to plant a couple on their curb property. The beauty of the investment would pay dividends for decades to come.
The community of Worthington, OH began a street tree program about thirty years ago and it could serve as a model for a program in Greenfield. I’ve included a before/after pair of photos to show the difference trees make. Now you decide, which street would you want your home to sit along? Which would command the greater resale price? It’s like so many things in life, pay a little up front and reap the rewards down the road.
By the way, the trees for the city building are expensive due to their maturity and the labor to have then installed. For the property owner the cost needn’t be that high since they can select from a variety of species and purchase less mature trees and take advantage of nursery sales.
PS: Here’s a related article about the loss of canopy in Cincinnati the was published after I wrote the above piece.
PPS: A friend who is developing a family farm near Greenfield and working with the ODNR sent me a link to share about “urban” forestry. In the late 1970s I received several hundred free bare root seedlings from the State of Ohio and planted them all over my property. Most survived and are today mature trees. I did some research and learned that Ohio’s state nursery has been closed but other surrounding states still have nurseries and make seedlings available at minimum cost. It might be a good project for Greenfield’s Tree Commission or the village government to set aside some land and plant a large number of 1 to 2 year old seedlings for planting along our curb lines when they become more mature. That could result in tremendous savings and beautification in the years to come. For information visit: