Rehoboth’s latest tree-planting project lauded

February 21, 2023

It was great to read about the trees recently planted on Delaware Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. And more importantly, a contractor has been hired to water the new trees for two years. In that article, city arborist Liz Lingo finally gave well-deserved credit to the trees and green infrastructure committee members and their Commemorative Tree Fund for their ideas and recommendations.

I was a member of the tree committee for several years until 2021. Beginning in 2018, I became increasingly concerned about the use of public and private funds for tree-planting projects that appeared to fail unnecessarily. During that time and afterwards, thousands of dollars were wasted when newly planted trees and shrubs died on Lake Avenue, Munson Street, Rehoboth Avenue and other locations. They were planted during the warmer months of the year and then not adequately watered. Countless photos of dead trees and failed planting projects were shown to the arborist at multiple tree committee meetings. Unfortunately, our recommendations to Lingo about planting trees at the correct time of year, but, more importantly, having ongoing watering contracts in place to ensure their survival, were consistently disregarded.

During the COVID pandemic, when many people were having financial difficulties, donors continued to make contributions to our Commemorative Tree Fund in honor of their loved ones. It was particularly disheartening to see money from that fund used and then wasted when trees died. Some donors expressed resentment when their contributions eventually resulted in dead trees. Our committee had a fiduciary responsibility to those donors, so I met with Mayor Stan Mills to advocate for our recommendations. But as evidenced by the subsequent 2021 Lake Avenue project, the same planting methods and results from negligence continued.

With the new Delaware Avenue project, however, Lingo has now acted upon the committee’s valuable input. Trees were planted at the right time of year with watering contracts in place.

As a city employee required to spend public funds responsibly, Lingo might also consider getting project cost estimates from more than one landscaping company in the future. But that’s just another recommendation for her consideration.

Terri Eskew
Rehoboth Beach


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