green companies help trees grow in Portsmouth
Portsmouth Mayor Tom Ferrini read an Arbor Day proclamation during a brief ceremony on the morning of April 24 in Haven Park, where local companies had already begun volunteer tree-trimming as part of the national observance on the last Friday of April.
Tree maintenance at the grassy park on Pleasant Street began before 8 a.m. and continued throughout the day. Workers trimmed trees from bucket trucks nearly 65 feet high to remove dead and diseased wood from some of the oldest trees in Portsmouth.
The first focus was on deadwood over walkways, benches and throughout the park. Removing deadwood prevents decay from spreading through the tree and hollowing it out, said Chris Kemp, of Suntree Corporation. It also keeps limbs from falling and causing injury to people or damage to property, he said.
The event was organized by Kemp and Micum Davis, owner of Cornerstone Tree Care. They enlisted other local companies to help, including Northeast Shade Tree, Seacoast Tree Care, The Organic Arborist, True North Tree Preservation & Landcare.
In addition to pruning, Suntree treated four Canadian hemlocks that are infested with the hemlock wooly adelgid, an insect that has killed millions of trees along the eastern seaboard. The low-toxic spray smothers the invasive insects without killing beneficial ones, Kemp said.
The insect, about the size of a cotton swab tip, traveled slowly to the area from the south by birds, Kemp said. It only impacts hemlock trees. He said there are several types of old trees in Haven Park, including red oaks and sugar maples.
Northeast Shade Tree treated the other trees in Haven Park using a slow-release organic fertilizer with beneficial ingredients for the soil. All of the companies that volunteered use natural methods as much as possible and a minimum of pesticides.
They are business partners in the Green Alliance, a company promoting sustainable practices. Other local businesses in the group donated products, such as lunch from Fresh Local and dinner from The Portsmouth Brewery. Simply Green provided biodiesel for the trucks and equipment.
Cornerstone Tree Care uses biodegradable bar and chain oil, and composts and recycles their wood chip waste into a local mulch product. All of the Green Alliance businesses involved have undergone a sustainability evaluation and the results are available at www.greenalliance.biz.
Also for Arbor Day, the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Trees and Greenery plans to replace a tree in Market Square soon. Since 2003, the Committee has taken suggestions for locations that could benefit from a new street tree. A total of 162 trees have been planted by the city under this program and more trees will be planted this year.
Portsmouth has been recognized as a Tree City USA community for the past 10 years for its commitment to trees. The city has been selected because of its investment in street trees and the use of native species in public parks.
Arbor Day began as a tree planting celebration in 1872 in Nebraska and has spread to all 50 states. On Saturday, April 25, some tree companies continued to work in Kittery, Maine, in John Paul Jones Park.
While reading the proclamation, Ferrini said trees improve quality of life by contributing to both the landscape and the environment, which city residents don’t take for granted.
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