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Safety concerns prompt removal of trees from Whitefield common


by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter

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Last week, the big trees that used to offer shade on the common in Whitefield were cut down. (Photo by Tara Giles) (click for larger version)
November 07, 2018
WHITEFIELD — The common in Whitefield is not what it was after the removal of several trees last week. The trees were identified during a 2012 study as rotten, with a high risk of branches coming down and causing injury.

Some residents were disappointed that a public hearing was not held; however, the fact that the tree removal is considered maintenance excused public input. While not the most popular choice, the trees had to come down for safety reasons. Selectman Stan Holz said the trees will be replanted in the spring.

The stumps left behind by large trees can last up to 10 years without treatment. The exact amount of time it takes a stump to decay varies depending on the species of tree and the conditions in the ground.

While a tree may seem healthy to an untrained eye, there are six things to look for. The first thing to check is any bark abnormalities. Tree bark should flow without deep cracks or holes. These imperfections could mean the tree is dying or that the branches can break.

When a tree begins to decay, it happens from the inside out. Fungus or mushrooms growing on trees are signs on decay. If you see soft wood that crumbles, this could be cause for concern.

Dead branches that break easily and appear dry should be removed. Leaf discoloration could also be a sign for disease. When a tree grows unevenly or is lopsided it may be a sign of disease.

When branches on a tree grow too close together they may not anchor properly to the trunk. Bark growing between those branches creates an unhealthy bond.

During spring time if leaves fail to show themselves decay has already taken hold. Large patches of bark will disappear from the trunk. Dead leaves that hold on to branches during the winter are another sign the tree is diseased. If the tree was healthy, the leaves would fall to the ground. Look for cracks in the trunk and small branches sprouting from the base.

Trees that are close to the end of their lives are more susceptible to storms and strong gusts of wind which can destroy property as well as people.

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