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Tree planted at Sucks Lake to celebrate Arbor Day

Tree planted at Sucks Lake to celebrate Arbor Day

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A new Miyabe’s maple was planted at Sucks Lake Park, which is the location of the city’s arboretum. The city of Grand Island celebrated Arbor Day on Tuesday.

Though Arbor Day was April 24, the city was unable to celebrate it this year due to pandemic concerns.

“We feel that the next best time to plant trees is in September, or this time of year in the fall,” said Barry Burrows, Grand Island parks superintendent.

The city’s arboretum boasts roughly 34 different species of trees, Burrows said.

The maple, also called a street maple, was the first of its kind to be planted in the park.

It will grow to be about 45 feet tall and 35 feet wide.

“It’s not really tolerant to salts,” he said. “If you planting it real close to a street that’s going to get salted by the street department, it might do alright, but it’s possible it doesn’t survive. In a park atmosphere, or front yard or back yard, it’ll be a real neat tree.”

The maple can be found in other city parks, and has been successful.

Among other trees that can be found at the arboretum are oaks, bald cypress, birch, sugar maple, green locusts and black locusts.

The timing worked out well for the event.

The best time to plant trees, Burrows said, is mid-September.

“Spring’s a good time to plant, too, but fall is ideal,” he said. “Your outside temperature is cooler. Your days are shorter and your nights are longer, but your ground temperature is still up there to promote root growth.”

Trees can be planted anytime of the year, until the ground is frozen, Burrows said, with about three to four weeks of growing beforehand.

With the event, Tree Board members demonstrated the current planting techniques.

Key is finding the first lateral root, which every tree has, Burrows said.

“That you want to keep either level with your grade or you want to be a half inch to three quarters of an inch below grade with that root,” he said. “It’s important because if it’s too low, a lot of times the tree will not get its root flair.”

Burrows spoke against piling mulch several inches high on the trunk of a newly planted tree.

“That is very harmful for a tree,” he said. “It’s going to hold moisture around that tree, and the tree doesn’t like that. The bark is going to get rotten. Insects like to get in there.”

An inch of mulch spread evenly around the tree is sufficient, Burrows said.

“When you ‘volcano’ it, it is very detrimental to the tree,” he said. “All I can say is, don’t do it.”

Once the maple was planted, Burrows, working with Steve Meyer of Elite Dreamscapes and Bryan Fiala of Grand Island Utilities Department, filled the hole with soil, covered it with mulch, and gave it a pouring of water.

The tree will be anchored in place for two years to give time for the roots to set properly.

At city playgrounds, trees may be staked for three or four years.

“Kids sometimes like to play ring-around-the-rosie, and grab the tree and swing around it,” Burrows said. “The stakes avoid that from happening.”

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