Tree commission hard at work

Tree commissioners, who are they? Tree commissioners are volunteers in the community that have a desire to plant and care for trees in the public rights-of-way in Marietta. Qualification for choosing commissioners are as follows: 1. The mayor of Marietta appoints the tree commissioners; 2. the mayor accepts recommendations from the tree commission; 3. the candidate must have the time to provide the number of hours needed for the appointment; 4. the mayor will conduct a personal interview with the candidate and, if qualified, appoint the candidate as a tree commissioner for a three-year period. When the three years are completed, a reappointment may be made by the mayor. The tree commission is made up of 11 members. These members include nine tree commissioners and the other two members are the Lands and Building Committee, City Council and the mayor or his appointee. The members of the tree commission must spend many hours in the work and maintenance of trees in the community and receive no payment for hours that are spent in this endeavor. The tree commission serves as an advisory committee to the mayor and City Hall.

The current members of the Marietta Tree Commission are Rhea Blockhorst chair 2013, Ted Barth, Barbra Garverick, Alan Hunt, Ken Morrison, Marilyn Ortt, Julia Paugstat chair 2009-2012, Rob Schafer, and Grady Smith. Ann Bonner of the Ohio Division of Natural Resources acts as urban forestry management expert, helping with diagnosis diseases of trees, condition of trees and when a tree should be removed, value of trees and many other areas. The members come from a varied background, listed as follows: botanist, Cast Railroad president, welder, retired electrical engineer, past assistant safety director, business owners, retired nurse, social worker, master gardener, retired finance director, and Marietta College physical plant employee.

The purpose and the authority of the tree commission is to fulfill and adopt rules and regulations necessary to provide for the proper planting, care, removal and replacement of trees in the public rights-of-way that are city owned and public areas owned by the city. These rights-of-way are from the street to the side walks. Trees planted in these areas are city property and maintained by peopled trained in the correct pruning and care of these trees. The tree commission takes its knowledge from years of training and the Marietta Tree Commission Rules and Regulation Manual and when necessary we seek advice from Ann Bonner, our Ohio Division of Natural Resources contact.

Care of the trees in the public rights-of-way remain in the care of the city, with the tree commission using its knowledge to recommend and advise the city in the best care of these trees. No pruning is to be done to these trees without a permit from the mayor’s office. Tree topping is prohibited, except for special reason that relate to safety, or utility companies; permits must be obtained even in these special areas. Topped trees are unhealthy and the new limbs are small and do not make for a strong, beautiful tree. The pruning done on the trees in the public spaces is done under the guidelines of The National Arborist Association of Pruning. Tree commissioners have been trained to use these guidelines. Some have attended classes and studied pruning over long periods, and have studied the bad effects of poor pruning. City workers of the city tree crew (of the street department facilities and parks and cemeteries) are being updated on pruning techniques and attend annual training courses.

The selecting and planting of appropriate tree species for public rights-of-way are taken from an approved list of trees for sites in the urban areas. These lists are developed from the Tree Commission Rules and Regulation Manual. The species of tree must be considered as correct for each specific area as some species may not be appropriate for certain areas.

Trees are of great value. The tree commission uses for its guidelines; The American Association of Nurserymen, American Society of Consulting Arborist Association, Landscape Contractors, International Society of Arborist, and National Association of Arborist to determine the value of trees. Value is further determined by the tree species, size of the trunk, condition of tree and tree location. A numeric formula is also used. Trees are always valuable, and at times can be worth many thousands of dollars. Trees in the urban forest provide value by providing shade, properly hold soil, preventing erosion, aesthetic value of residences, animal habitat, and clean air.

We, the Tree Commission, ask your help in keeping the trees watered in the public spaces during the very hot dry weather that we are often having in the summer. These hot dry, windy periods are very hard on all trees. Please help by watering the trees in the public areas as well as your own. You can also help by mulching around the trees. It is best to leave 3 inches free of mulch away from the trunk. You can mulch 3 feet all the way around the tree in a circle. The mulching should be done in a donut shape, not a volcano. Mulching too close to the trunk can cause insect damage as well as too much moisture causing rot.

We are proud to be named by the Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA for the past 34 years. The tree commission meets the first Tuesday of each month at 304 Putnam St.

Barbra Garverick is on the Marietta Tree Commission.