Last year’s extreme drought impacted vegetation across the Southeast. In Anniston, the drought affected the health of numerous older trees, and dying trees can be liabilities. With public safety a priority, the City of Anniston Public Works Department is working to conscientiously address this issue.
Anniston has a long history with its trees. Anniston’s founding families planted trees along the city’s main boulevard in the late 19th century, and neighborhoods were planted with oaks and elms. The Woodstock Iron Furnace was kept ablaze with nearby timber—one of the area’s most abundant natural resources.
Throughout the 20th century, progress would threaten the trees that lined Quintard, but community members would voice their opposition, and concessions would be made. (Source: “The Vault,” The Anniston Star.) In 1992, Anniston became an official “Tree City USA,” a program of the Arbor Day Foundation, which provides a framework to manage and expand public trees.
As much as we hate to see them go, dying trees pose safety hazards. Although different varieties of trees have different lifespans, many of Anniston’s trees, oaks especially, have lived for more than 100 years, and are reaching the end of their natural lives. As they die, their branches weaken and fall, posing hazards to pedestrians, pets, vehicles, and homes. During storms, entire trees may fall, causing power outages, blocking roads and delaying emergency responders. Dying trees can also drive down property values and increase homeowner insurance premiums.
Public safety is a priority for the City of Anniston. Over the past several months, the City’s certified botanist has identified diseased and dying trees and shrubs in city right-of-ways and properties that pose hazards. The onset of summer has further confirmed the botanist’s diagnoses as limbs have begun to fall and/or leaves have failed to appear. Trees identified for removal will be marked with yellow caution tape until Public Works crews can remove deadwood or if necessary, the entire tree. All debris will be removed, tree stumps will be ground after they have dried (1 to 2 months), and the area will be sodded if necessary.
Want to get involved? Plant a tree to replace the one that was removed! Each year in March, the City of Anniston hosts a free tree giveaway in recognition of Arbor Day. Stop by and pick up a tree sapling, then plant it in a suitable location in honor of the tree that was removed.
For more information on the City’s tree removal program, contact the City of Anniston Public Works Department at 256-231-7742.