VANDALIA — Vandalia’s Helke Park has been hit hard by the Emerald Ash Borer over the past few years and has lost several trees.
On Friday, the city took a small step toward rebuilding the park’s tree population during its annual Arbor Day celebration when it planted a Yellow Buckeye tree.
“The yellow buckeye is a rugged beauty, with its thick bark, interesting yellow spring blooms and striking orange fall color,” according to the National Arbor Day Foundation website. “In parks and yards, it serves as an attractive and dense shade tree suitable as a pleasing focal point or a visual screen.”
Yellow Buckeyes grow to an average height of 60-75 feet and have a canopy of 30 feet at maturity. The trees grow an average of 1-2 feet per year.
Students from adjacent Helke Elementary School helped the Parks and Recreation Department plant the tree as each one got a turn in in shoveling dirt.
Vandalia Mayor Arlene Setzer read a proclamation that called trees “an important component of our community’s infrastructure.’
“Trees and the urban forest make our neighborhoods more inviting and attractive and cause new home buyers to want to live in our community and be willing to pay more for a house in our community and therefore are a foundation stone for our community’s community development efforts,” said Setzer.
The Arbor Day celebration was done in conjunction with the city’s Tree City, USA designation which it received in 2015.