The city of North Augusta in January received a grant that will assist the city in maintaining its trees.
“If we don’t keep track of watering schedules, fertilizing schedules, pruning schedules, the trees aren’t gonna – they’re not going to continue to grow and prosper,” said Roy Kibler, superintendent of property maintenance for the city.
The grant was from the South Carolina Forestry Commission and the U.S. Forest Service. The city purchased the Plan-It-Geo Tree Plotter Software.
The city received a matching grant of $8,000 and matched it with labor costs of the time it took the city’s tree technicians to collect the data.
The city has documented 4,543 trees with the tree inventory software; Kibler said around 75% of those are street trees.
One of the benefits of street trees is providing shade. Kibler pointed to the plaza along Center Street between Crowne Plaza and SRP Park, where two rows of Jefferson American Elms are planted.
“Give them about five years, we’re going to have a good shade area down here at Riverside Village.”
Kibler said trees help with shade, take up stormwater and provide beauty to the landscape.
“You don’t want to just see nothing but rooftops and that’s what we’re trying to do. We want to put some canopy back over North Augusta and I’m a proponent of that,” he said.
Through the inventory process, the city has identified 122 new tree planting sites, 456 trees in fair condition, 86 trees in poor condition and 11 dead trees.
“This information will allow our tree preservation/maintenance program to focus on a plant health care plan for those trees that are under performing,” he said.
Another benefit of the tree inventory is identifying future planting sites and keeping the city’s tree species diverse.
“We don't want to be constantly planting water oaks or willow oaks … we want to make sure that we change so that we don’t get monocultures of the same species,” Kibler said.
“I would like to thank the S.C. Forestry Commission and the U.S. Forest Service for their funding contributions to the city’s and town that help establish healthy trees in communities,” Kibler said.
The city will soon be adding a tree inventory webpage to the city’s website, northaugusta.net.