Troubles with trees take root in town |

Troubles with trees take root in town

Ryan Graff
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS- Some of Glenwood Springs’ trees just aren’t shading the town’s sidewalks like they could. Some of the town’s trees are in sorry shape, with brown leaves and barren branches.

“I think we have a problem,” said Walter Gallacher of Glenwood Springs, who has noticed dead and dying trees along the city’s streets.

“You can see that a lot of the leaves are brown; some have lost their leaves,” he said.

Many of the stressed trees Gallacher noticed are in the green strip between the sidewalk and the street.

That’s ironic, Gallacher said, because Glenwood Springs is designated a Tree City USA. That means the city spends a certain amount of money per resident on trees each year.

According to a 1997 city ordinance, those trees are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, said Al Laurette, Glenwood Springs parks and cemetery superintendent.

Laurette said he has received 50 to 100 calls about trees along the city’s streets this year. Many people are surprised to learn that trees in the green strip are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, he said.

“Property owners are supposed to be doing it (taking care of green-strip trees) and they’re not,” he said.

Laurette said some residents have been confused because the city has trimmed trees as a last resort if the property owner don’t take care of them.

Green-strip trees and trees in yards are not the only ones showing signs of stress. Some of the city’s trees are also suffering.

City trees behind the courthouse on 7th Street have leaves that are browning, and look stressed.

“There’s an irrigation system in there that’s been very defective,” said Laurette.

Though most of the city’s trees are watered by an irrigation system, he said, “There are a lot of other factors than someone saying `It didn’t get water last year, it’s dead,'” said Laurette.

“A tree that’s dying today isn’t dying because of something that happened today,” said Scott Daniels, owner of High Rise Tree Care in Carbondale.

Daniels said that events that happened as long as two years ago could be showing up in trees now.

He also said the drought isn’t solely responsible for trees that are stressed today.

Some trees could just be getting old, lacking minerals, or having an insect problem, said Daniels. He said no one factor is likely to be responsible for tree deaths.

“The little things add up,” said Daniels.

Factors that can contribute to poor tree health are soil compaction, temperature extremes, or physical damage to the tree, according to literature provided by Daniels.

Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535

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