Lexington street tree compliance may undergo some modification

Originally published by WEKU.

The implementation and continuation of a successful street tree program covers a lot of ground literally and figuratively. Lexington Council Members got a briefing on urban canopy and street tree issues last week. Heather Wilson is with Urban Community Forestry. Wilson said replacing shade street trees with ornamentals can fall short when it comes to growing tall and broad enough to provide cooling and water absorption.

“They’re important too for all the other reasons, for pollination, for wildlife and just because they’re all aesthetically awesome and diversity of a canopy. But, if there’s a shade tree that came out and there’s a space for it, I will always recommend a shade tree,” said Wilson.

Wilson said insects can greatly impact urban canopies. She says the Asian Longhorned Beetle affects a wide swath of tree species. Wilson noted a few years ago it got as close as Cincinnati. If it made a home in Kentucky, Wilson added the risk would be to lose, for instance, all red maple trees.

The Council is being asked to make a modification in the fine structure regarding street trees. Currently, a one-third reduction in penalties is offered as an incentive to make the needed correction. But, Lexington Environmental Services Director Jennifer Carey said too often those cited would send in the reduced amount and not make a fix.

“It’s basically just going to eliminate that one-third reduction so if someone receives a citation and a fine, they will be expected to pay the full amount and bring their site into compliance,” said Carey.

 Another change is to align enforcement to ensure that when a tree is removed the grinding of the tree stump also takes place. Wilson recommends when it comes to street tree replacement to call upon the advice of a certified arborist. She said that helps to ensure there are fewer problems down the road with power lines or sidewalk damage.

Lexington Environmental Quality and Public Works is a financial contributor to Weku.

** WEKU is working hard to be a leading source for public service, and fact-based journalism. Monthly supporters are the top funding source for this growing nonprofit news organization. Please join others in your community who support WEKU by making your donation.

Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.