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City receives MDC grant for trees

The city of O’Fallon’s plan to buffer the impact of the tree-killing emerald ash borer got a shot in the arm last month with a $10,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation’s [MDC] Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance [TRIM] grant program.

O’Fallon was one of 42 cities to receive the grant, which the city has earmarked for education and tree planting.

“TRIM grants help recipients accomplish activities that keep their neighborhood trees healthy and thriving, including [taking] inventory, pruning, planting and educational programs,” said MDC Forestry Management Chief Justine Gartner.

The grants offer cost-share funding for government agencies, public schools and nonprofit groups to manage, improve or conserve trees on public lands.

“The city of O’Fallon has the unlucky honor of being included with all of the cities in the St. Louis region that will be impacted by the emerald ash borer, or EAB,” said Landscape Manager Bob Deardeuff. “Due to the emerald ash borer, O’Fallon likely will lose all 247 ash trees on municipal grounds, including 133 trees in city parks. The City Council decided to use city resources to proactively replace those trees. To accomplish this, the landscape division developed a plan for planting 300 new trees between 2016 and 2020. That way, the replacement trees will have a head start on growth before the first of the dying ash trees must be removed.”

The 64 replacement trees chosen for the initial planting this year were selected for species diversity as well as their ability to thrive in city parks and to meet the needs of park visitors, such as for shade. The trees are fruitless sweet gum, honey locust, American linden, pin oak, columnar hornbeam, sugar maple and red maple.

The replacement trees will be planted next to ash trees, with the ash trees left standing until they need to be cut down. High-visibility ash trees will be tagged with a label displaying information about the EAB.

For more information about the EAB in O’Fallon, visit the city’s EAB webpage atwww.ofallon.mo.us/eab.

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