The Delaware Forest Service funded a downtown streetscape improvement and tree planting project in Georgetown, highlighted by the planting of 18 new cherry and lilac trees along East Market Street near the Sussex County Courthouse. Total cost of the project was estimated at $37,000. The DFS Urban and Community Forestry Streetscape Program - which offers a 50-50 match to recipients - provided $17,000, which Georgetown officials matched with almost $20,000 in project expenses and in-kind services.
In the first phase of the project, Georgetown’s Department of Public Works spent two weeks removing the old trees, many of which were either poorly adapted to the sites or suffered from disease or other environmental stress. During that time, workers also conducted extensive excavation of the existing soil in the tree pits, which was eventually replaced with a special 50-50 mix of topsoil and organic matter to help ensure survival of the new plantings.
The second phase, the actual tree planting, took place under sunny skies in the last week of October. Kyle Hoyd and Kesha Braunskill of the Urban and Community Forestry Program supervised the work by Bridgeville’s Nanticoke Nursery and Landscaping, which was awarded the contract to provide the soil, supply the new trees, and complete the project according to Delaware Forest Service specifications. In all, 18 trees, nine Okame cherry trees and nine Japanese Ivory Silk Lilac trees, were planted in the newly excavated sites.
These two species, though not native to Delaware, were selected for planting by forestry officials for their high tolerance to environmental stresses common to urban areas and the fact that they are unlikely to outgrow the site constraints. The cherry and lilac trees will also provide beauty and visual appeal to the downtown area, providing an attractive climate for businesses and residents.
The final phase, installation of new protective tree grates, is expected to take place by mid-November. The existing iron grates, which suffered past damage by motor vehicles or were modified to accomodate the previously oversized trees, will be replaced at the time the new ones are installed.
For more information, contact Kyle Hoyd, Urban and Community Forestry Program coordinator, Delaware Forest Service, 302-698-4578 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.