A message from the Greencastle Shade Tree Commission

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

National Arbor Day falls on the 29th of April this year. Many are already gearing up to celebrate with tree plantings and ceremonies. The Greencastle Shade Tree Commission is no different. To celebrate this special day, we will be holding a tree planting ceremony at King Playground, behind the fence at the intersection of North Carlisle and the park exit road. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m.

One of the trees is being planted in honor of the many years of service Bud Marshall gave to the community of Greencastle by serving on the Shade Tree Commission. The second tree is being planted for a future celebration. Everyone and anyone is welcome to attend!

April is also the month we will be setting stakes to mark the locations of this year’s trees to be planted. We will be placing several different types and will be adding approximately ten new sites. This year’s list includes eight different species of trees, all selected specifically for their location and property owner preference. The Commission continues this attempt to diversify the borough’s tree variety and to work with homeowners to provide them with the best possible selection.

Other work will be going on soon as well. Trees need to be pruned correctly; new trees will be watered regularly; mulch rings and stakes will be installed, and some trees will be fertilized. All these are functions carried out by the Commission on trees located in the borough right-of-way.

The Shade Tree Commission is also happy to provide advice to homeowners on maintaining trees on their properties, even if they do not lie in the borough right-of-way. Many people have questions about the proper way to have their trees pruned. The preponderance of people having their trees “topped” suggests that many are receiving the wrong advice.

The “topping” of trees is not an accepted method of pruning. Tree topping is actually detrimental to tree health. Topping forces a tree to rapidly grow multiple shoots in an attempt to produce leaves. These shoots end up being very weak and tend to break in storms. The open wounds from topping leave the tree susceptible to insect and disease infestation. The tree is also incapable of healing some wounds made indiscriminately when topping, and these wounds can lead to decay. The removal of the tree’s canopy can also expose lower branches and trunk to sunburn, which can result in a multitude of issues.

If you decide you need your trees pruned and someone agrees to “top” them for you, please stop and give us a call before you proceed. We would like to give you other options.  Call us at 597-7143 extension 103 to leave a message for the Shade Tree Commission. If we can’t answer your questions directly, we will put you in touch with the experts who can.  Have a wonderful, tree-full spring!