60 street trees ‘shovel ready’

Volunteers planted more than 80 trees along Latonia sidewalks one Saturday in October 2018.

Saturday volunteer event celebrates Arbor Day in The Cov 

COVINGTON, Ky. – At last count, there are six trees in Covington’s publicly maintained areas that are 5 feet or more in diameter.
The most common tree of any size in the city is the Callery (a la "Bradford") pear, with an estimated 756 trees. Among the least common? The chestnut (1 tree), not to be confused with the chestnut oak (3) or the chinkapin oak (also 3).
Besides being fascinating, these discoveries from the City’s new interactive tree inventory map are also timely and relevant: Friday is Arbor Day across the nation, and Covington is celebrating by getting dirty and taking action.
On Saturday morning, volunteer “shovel-wielders” will plant 60 trees in public areas throughout the Peaselburg and Westside neighborhoods.
“Some of the areas we will be planting in currently have no street trees, so this is an important event,” said Cassandra Homan, Covington’s Urban Forester. “The big challenge with these areas echoes the challenge in many cities across the United States – finding locations where there is enough soil for trees to thrive.”
The event
Volunteers should meet shortly before 9 a.m. at the pending new home for the City’s Public Works Department at 1730 Russell St. (Parking is on site.) Wear sturdy shoes, clothes that can get muddy, and a pandemic-appropriate face covering. Bring a shovel and gloves if you have them.
(Donuts and coffee will be provided.)
The event is sponsored by the Covington Urban Forestry Board in partnership with Keep Covington Beautiful.
Homan said the trees will be carefully selected for each spot so they don’t cause problems as they grow. Species include tulip tree (which also happens to be Kentucky’s state tree), yellowwood, elm, littleleaf linden, cherry, redbud, and sweetbay magnolia, among others.
Homan said Forestry officials were excited by the event for a number of reasons:
  • Given the ban on large social gatherings during the worst of the pandemic, the board was unable to organize large plantings in 2020. Back in October 2019, for example, volunteers planted 75 trees along the sidewalks in Eastside, Latonia, MainStrasse Village, Peaselburg, and Wallace Woods. 
  • This Tuesday, Homan will present the Urban Forestry Division’s annual report to the Covington Board of Commissioners at its meeting at 6 p.m. 
  • The division recently finished a public survey in which 369 Covington residents and businesses shared their attitudes about the urban forest. Homan said she was grateful for the responses and said they would help the City create policy in the years ahead. 
  • Forestry is also working toward creating a 20-year master plan to manage the City’s historic investment in creating and maintaining its green infrastructure. 
Homan previously described that initiative’s importance like this:
“Too often, communities ‘wing it’ when it comes to trees,” she said. “That can lead to bad decisions, wasted money, and problems. Without a guiding plan, the wrong kinds of trees are planted in places where they cause problems, unrestrained clearing of hillsides can cause erosion, and poorly scheduled pruning and watering allows trees to die. Covington has proudly been identified as a member of Tree City USA for the past 17 years, and we want to retain this status.”
Tree inventory map
Meanwhile, Homan said she hoped that residents find the City’s new tree inventory map – found HERE -- interesting.
On it, forestry fans can search by neighborhood, tree size, and tree type.
Once the colored “circles” show a tree’s location, clicking on them will bring up additional information, including a link to an online page related to that tree’s scientific name.
The information is based on a survey conducted by a private contractor about four years ago, so in some areas the location circles are not placed exactly and sometimes the information doesn’t reflect newly planted or removed trees, Homan said.
“It’s a ‘living’ map that we will continue to update,” she said. “But I hope people will have fun searching the inventory for Covington’s largest or most unusual trees, or use it as a way to learn more about trees in general. We’re excited to share this resource with everyone!”
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