MT. VERNON — Problem trees along the city’s right-of-way will be addressed as part of a new partnership with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
The Forever Green program will help the city with the removal and replacement of up to 150 problem trees in the city right-of-way.
“I got a call from the Department of Agriculture saying the program was out there and asking if we were interested in it,” said Public Works Director Matt Fauss.
The council approved an agreement to participate in the program earlier this week. Under the terms of the agreement, the city will continue to maintain a list of problem trees, defined as “trees located on property owned or controlled by the state or a unit of local government in a pilot project area that are currently damaging public or
private infrastructure; are of ill health and are presently or may soon pose a threat to public safety; or are currently infested with an invasive insect pestor plant disease...”
Fauss said the city already has a problem tree list, created with the help of the city arborist, George Bryant. Fauss is identifying additional trees for the list at this time.
“We cut down problem trees in the winter, primarily, using city crews and a bucket truck,” Fauss explained. “In the summer, we knock down some of the small stuff and identify new trees for the problem list.”
Fauss said one of the big bonuses to the program is the replacement of trees which are cut down.
“They will pay for taking down up to 150 problem trees and replace them, but not necessarily in the same location,” Fauss explained. “We’re going to focus on getting those replacement trees in new areas, such as on South 34th Street near the new aquatic center, and in the Veterans and Davidson areas.
The program will save the city several thousand dollars. Fauss said the cost of removing a tree is between $1,500 and $2,000.
“That doesn’t include new planting,” Fauss said. “Trees are relatively cheap, but the labor associated with planting them is about another $250 per tree.”