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New Trees Coming to Latonia Streets

New trees are coming to a pair of Latonia streets.
 
The City of Covington is working to replace 70 trees on Ashland and Rosina Avenues.
 
The work, which will begin in October, is to replace the maligned Bradford pear trees that have been removed.
 
The Bradford, whose putrid smell and proclivity for splitting, has been the target of removal all over town, though it still makes up 30 percent of the city streetscape, according to a news release from City Hall.
 
"In my experience, the only thing a Bradford pear won't survive is itself," said Crystal Courtney, the city's urban forester. "It thrives in cruddy soil, and it's resistant to heat, drought and road salt - but it's structurally weak."
 
Over the past few years, Covington has steadily been planting new trees where fallen Bradford pears have left gaps. On Oct. 13, the City will be planting 70 more trees on Ashland and Rosina with the help of volunteers.
 
In the next couple of weeks, members of the city's Forestry Division and the Latonia Community Council will be going door to door to distribute information about the event and seek commitments from residents to keep the trees watered and mulched.
 
They also want to hear from residents who do not want trees - since unwanted trees are often vandalized.
 
According to an inventory completed last year, Latonia has the most vacant planting sites in Covington, so that's where the Forestry Division will be concentrating its efforts over the next few years, Courtney said.
 
"Trees are the only infrastructure that appreciate in value over time, and the economic benefits they provide compound as the trees get bigger," Courtney said. "They clean the air of pollution. They absorb rain and lessen the storm water going into our combined sewer systems, and they make property values go up by providing both beauty and shade."
 
National studies show all sorts of lesser-known spin-off benefits as well: In "greener" neighborhoods, asthma rates for children are lower, obesity rates are lower, people are less likely to call in sick to work, noise levels are lower, fewer traffic accidents occur, shaded pavement lasts longer, "aggressive" crime rates are lower, residents like where they're living more, and temperatures are lower.
 
"The 2014 urban heat island maps of Covington show the highest temperatures lie along the Madison Avenue, Decoursey Avenue, and Winston Avenue corridors, where there are few trees," Courtney said. "Over the past few years, we have been working diligently to combat this by organizing large-scale plantings on or near these thoroughfares."
 
The trees planted in Latonia are funded through federal Community Block Development Grants and will be made up of "our trusty go-to's," she said. 
  • Where there are no power lines, species will include yellowwood, black gum, State Street Maple, and a hybrid elm.
  • Under power lines, they will plant serviceberry, redbud, Parrotia, ornamental cherry, and Wireless Zelkova, which is a new cultivar.
All street trees have to be available locally, non-invasive and tough - able to overcome poor soil and drought conditions and tolerate road salt. They should also be resistant to the spread of fungal or disease issues. And above all, they shouldn't grow too tall or wide for the spot.
 
Being smarter about what species to plant and where to plant them thus saves taxpayers money and keeps our streets looking attractive, Courtney said.
 
Covington was still planting Bradford pears up until about ten years ago - "but we've since adopted the right tree/right place philosophy," she said. "Trees are a valuable asset, and we want to keep that asset healthy and increasing in value over the long term."
 
-Staff report
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