Speak­ing for the trees

New­ton res­i­dents cel­e­brate Ar­bor Day

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Rachel Oswald

Wor­ries the re­cent drought has wreaked havoc on the health of the county’s trees cast a slight pall on New­ton County’s oth­er­wise cheer­ful Ar­bor Day cel­e­bra­tion.

A group of ap­prox­i­mately 30 tree en­thu­si­asts gath­ered on Clark Street Fri­day morn­ing for the cus­tom­ary plant­ing of an oak tree by Keep Cov­ing­ton/New­ton Beau­ti­ful. This year how­ever in­stead of plant­ing a new tree, KCNB de­cided to re­place a tree which had died as a re­sult of the drought.

The new oak tree was planted by Daniel Bauer, a mas­ter ar­borist with Bartlett Tree Ex­perts. The tree ac­com­pa­nies sev­eral other oak trees planted along Clark Street in honor and me­mory of KCNB vol­un­teers.

Speak­ing be­fore the gath­ered crowd Cov­ing­ton Mayor Kim Carter high­lighted some of the many ben­e­fits that come from liv­ing sur­rounded by trees.

“When res­i­dents are around trees and the out­doors and not just as­phalt and steel, there’s much less vi­o­lence,” said Carter, cit­ing a Chicago Po­lice De­part­ment fiveyear study.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent ar­ti­cle in The En­ergy Times, liv­ing near trees can have pos­i­tive psy­cho­log­i­cal, phys­i­cal and eco­nom­i­cal ben­e­fits for peo­ple such as milder symp­toms in chil­dren with ADHD and lower en­ergy bills dur­ing the sum­mer months.

“Trees give us so much in our lives,” said KCNB ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Con­nie Waller.

Waller ad­vised the crowd to “do what you can to in­flu­ence other peo­ple to ap­pre­ci­ate trees.”

Af­ter the tree ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony, Bauer gave at­ten­dees a pre­sen­ta­tion on the car­ing of trees at The Cen­ter for Com­mu­nity Preser­va­tion and Plan­ning.

Bauer said in times of drought it is the old­est and youngest trees that will suf­fer the most and need the most at­ten­tion. Ac­cord­ing to Bauer, mul­ti­ple fac­tors can af­fect a tree’s health such as too lit­tle wa­ter, too much wa­ter, con­struc­tion and par­a­sites.

“When they’re un­der stress they’re go­ing to put out as much fruit as pos­si­ble,” Bauer said. “Ev­ery­thing is in slower, long term phases [with trees].”

Bauer ad­vised at­ten­dees to give their trees a good soak­ing once a week with wa­ter they had saved from their house­holds. Bauer said mulch could also be used to help trees re­tain their mois­ture in times of drought. Bauer said the mulch should be spread out 3 to 4 inches from the base of the trunk.

Even if the trees look healthy this spring, Bauer warned au­di­ence mem­bers that the ef­fects of the drought could take three to five years to show up in trees.

Fri­day’s cel­e­bra­tion also in­cluded the recog­ni­tion of three Tree Stew­ards by the Cov­ing­ton Tree Preser­va­tion Board. In the in­sti­tu­tional cat­e­gory, New­ton Fed­eral Bank was rec­og­nized. C.R. Bard was rec­og­nized in the in­dus­trial cat­e­gory and Clark’s Grove was rec­og­nized in the res­i­den­tial cat­e­gory.

Robby Byrd/The Cov­ing­ton News

Tree Pre­sen­ta­tion: Cov­ing­ton Mayor Kim Carter wel­comes guests on Fri­day to the an­nual Ar­bor Day pro­gram on Clark Street in Cov­ing­ton.

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