Hamilton begins inventory of trees on public property

2:53 p.m Wednesday, July 6, 2016 Community News

In the next few weeks, the city of Hamilton will begin a survey of its street trees as part of a program to help beautify the city and ensure Hamilton’s tree canopy is thriving.

Since being hired six months ago as the city’s first municipal arborist/utility forester, Dave Bienemann has been busy planning to implement the city’s tree inventory.

As a precursor to the tree inventory, an aerial flyover over the city was made June 13 to determine the health of the urban forest. The infrared aerial can determine the healthy and less healthy trees as well as dead and partially dead trees and their locations, according to Bienemann.

The tree inventory of all trees in public parks, right of ways and both golf courses, which will take eight to 10 weeks, will follow up on the flyover.

Bienemann said the inventory, with the help of a contractor, will capture data on species, diameter, condition of the tree, green space size, risk management rating, maintenance recommendation, infrastructure issues such as uplifted sidewalks from tree roots, tree wire conflicts, and other data. Once data is completed and reported, a five-year budget plan will be developed for the general fund, he said. He is developing an overall plan for the city’s management of trees.

“The ultimate goal after the inventory is to develop a program to plant, pruning and removing dead trees,” he said. “We hope to develop a plan that will be updated every five years. We want to beautify the city and make it more attractive.”

The last tree inventory was a sampling of about 20 percent of the city’s street trees — an estimated 10,715 trees — that was done in 2013 by Ohio State University Extension Service and the Butler County Master Gardener volunteers, he said.

The Hamilton Tree Board works with the city as well as with Greenwood Cemetery, the Miami Hamilton Conservatory and the Butler County Master Gardeners to operate the Hamilton Tree Nursery, according to Doris Bergen, who chairs the board.

The tree nursery, which started a decade ago, enables organizations to plant and grow trees at Greenwood Cemetery that are later planted in city right of ways and other public property. Residents can also request a tree if they have no street tree or want to replace a dead tree that was cut down.

“Last year, we planted more than 100 trees,” Bergen said. “Over the years, we’ve planted about 500 trees. It’s a good collaborative project for Hamilton.”

These programs also help Hamilton to retain its status as a Tree City, she said, adding it has held that status for the past 12 years.

“We’re really happy to have the arborist here,” she said. “We expect a lot more tree-related events for Hamilton.”

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