Member Login

New Trees to Replace Bradford Pears in Latonia

The Bradford pear trees around Ritte's Corner in Latonia will soon be removed, said Jason Roberts, the City of Covington's arborist.

The Ritte's East Neighborhood and Latonia Business Association received a mini grant to help change the landscaping in the area and had previously complained to the city about the empty tree wells, the lack of diversity in the trees, the poor condition of some of the trees, and the way some roots are damaging sidewalks.

"Some of the trees are not looking good and some of them are hazardous," Roberts said.

Additionally, because some of the trees were planted under power lines, they have had to be "topped off" after growing into the wires, making them less attractive.

The neighborhood and the business association contacted Covington's urban forestry board for help.

The solution that Roberts, his staff, and the board came up with is to remove the non-native Bradford Pear trees, twenty-two of them in all, which are criticized by neighbors for the mess they make on the sidewalk and cars and the bad smell they can create.

Roberts said that some research has indicated that visitors at places like restaurants and shops choose not to be outside when the trees start to smell.

After removing the trees, the city will grind down the stumps, reposition remaining and new trees to keep them from obstructing storefront views, and plant three more appropriate species of trees.

The Kentucky coffee tree, the Japanese ivory silk lilac, and the Pyramedial European hornbeam will be the new trees along the business district.

Roberts and Mayor Sherry Carran led a presentation on Monday night at the American Legion in Latonia where residents shared their stories about why the Bradford pear trees should go. 

The Bradford pears are not only found in Latonia, and Roberts said an effort would be made to get the number across the city as close to zero as possible. There are more than 4,700 street trees in Covington and twenty percent are Bradford pears. National standards suggest that no more than ten percent of a city's tree make-up should be just one species, Roberts said.

The City of Covington recently received a $10,000 grant to plant new trees in place of Bradofrd pears along Holman Avenue.

Work in Latonia could start in early October and be completed in November. The city's urban forestry department now has six members and Roberts said that after the team completes the current work orders, he hopes to develop a four-year management plan to address tree issues across the city before residents even notice a proble.

Story & photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Mayor Sherry Carran and Arborist Jason Roberts explain tree plans for Latonia/RCN