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Sun Tribune Editorial: Communication on the trees

There appears to be some disconnect between city of Morris, the city's tree board and some residents of Morris who are concerned about the removal of trees in Kjenstad Park, Pomme de Terre Park and other locations in Morris.

Unfortunately, some trees were lost in this apparent disconnect, communication failure and confusion.

Residents in Morris should rightly question when trees that aren't ash or Dutch elms are removed in town? The explanation as to why a Cottonwood or even an ash tree that does not yet have Emerald Ash Borer, is removed may be a good one. The tree may be damaged and just one 30 mile per hour wind away from crashing to the ground, on a house, power pole or vehicle. But the explanation could also be open to challenge as in could trimming be a solution rather than cutting the tree down? Or is cutting down the tree to prevent possible damage when it falls, too much preventative action?

The public attention attracted by the loss of trees is healthy. As city officials, including the tree board, continue to discuss the needs of the city's tree population, it's important to have received the recent acknowledgment that trees are important to Morris. Climate change, Emerald Ash Borer and the nagging, persistent Dutch Elm disease will present many challenges to preserving trees in Morris.

It will be more important to connect with the city and tree board with support in the immediate and long term future. The city is not armed with a mighty ax to indiscriminately cut down trees. Nor is the tree board the only hope to preserve trees in Morris.

Preserving trees in Morris will take a cooperative effort.

The city will continue to need a diverse population of trees to withstand those three challenges. It's also going to take money to plant new trees, maintain new trees and treat, trim or remove any trees damaged by EAB, Dutch elm, or storms in the future. The city will need a strong tree preservation and maintenance plan forged by its tree board. That plan needs to be realistic and it will need to identify the cost of preservation and maintenance as well as identify sources of income to replace and care for trees and partners in the preservation and new growth.

Some of those partners could very well be volunteers who buy, plant and preserve a tree in a local park.