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HdG removes four trees in Tydings Park in preparation for laying sod

Contact Reporterebutler@theaegis.com

As it prepares for one of the final stages of improvements to Tydings Park, the City of Havre de Grace has removed four trees in the park deemed to be unhealthy, the mayor said.

The four trees were removed last week, including a honey locust in the middle of the park, Mayor William T. Martin said at Monday night’s city council meeting.

“It was a pretty tree, a prominent tree, but it was deemed to be not healthy,” Martin said.

The good news, he said, is that eight new trees will be planted to replace the four removed.

The tree assessment was done as the city gets ready to work on the grass in the park.

“Anyone who’s at Tydings Park knows the grass is hit and miss,” he said.

Among the completed improvements to the park are pads for picnic tables, an improved war memorial, more pathways to encourage people to stay off the grass and an expanded playground, Martin said.

A new handicapped accessible walkway in the park is nearly finished, he said.

The ramp is built, but it can’t open until the new handrails are installed, Stephanie Noye, of the department of public works said.

The handrails being manufactured for the city and should be installed the second week in May, she said. Once that’s done, the ramp will open.

Among the final stages of the work will be addressing the grass.

Rather than reseed the park, which Martin acknowledged could be difficult, the city chose to lay sod, and is getting for a “really good price,” he said.

But before the sod is laid, the city wanted to look at the condition of the trees.

The core of the park is home to more than 23 varieties of trees, according to a guide the city’s Tree Commission produced to coincide with the city’s Arbor Day observance in 2013. They include six species of oak, four species of maple, white cedar, bald cypress, American basswood – or Linden, black cherry and Yoshino cherry, sycamore, dawn redwood and the disease resistant "Liberty" American Elm. The park is also home to a rare Franklinia tree.

“What’s healthy, what’s not healthy, what can we trim back a little bit?” the mayor said.

A licensed arborist recommended that 10 trees be trimmed to keep them healthy, while also recommended the four trees be removed.

Martin said the Tree Commission looked at the arborist recommended and consulted with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which concurred with the arborist’s assessment.

“We wanted folks to know we’re not arbitrarily knocking trees down,” Martin said. “We did our diligence. Some of the trees were so dead they’re almost completely hollow, and one was near the playground.”

Removal of the trees also will allow sunlight to get to the sod once it’s laid, Martin said.

The mayor has met with city officials and the new trees have been picked out, including a Wye oak, he said.

The trees are set to be planted and sod set to be laid in May, but a specific date has not been determined, Noye said.

“We’re hoping at this point, we’re done. Every other tree there has been assessed to be a viable, healthy tree,” Martin said.

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