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 an Espresso Kentucky Coffeetree during its annual Arbor Day ceremony.
“Trees in our city increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas, and beutify our community,” said Vandalia Mayor Arlene Setzer in a proclamation declaring April 28 as Arbor Day. “Trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.”
“With its reputation as a tough species, the Kentucky coffeetree is an excellent choice for parks, golf courses and other large areas,” according to the National Arbor Day Foundation website. “The tree’s picturesque profile stands out in all seasons and can be attributed to a unique growth habit of coarse, ascending branches that often form a narrow crown.”
Espresso Kentucky Coffeetrees grow to an average height of 60-75 feet and have a canopy of 40-50 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 shoveling dirt. The students were also given a Colorado Blue Spruce sapling to take home.
The Arbor Day celebration was done in conjunction with the city’s Tree City, USA designation which it received in 2015.
“There are more than 3,400 communities nationwide that are currently a Tree City USA with over 143 million people living in a Tree City USA community,” said Vandalia Parks and Recreation Director Steve Clark. “Ohio is number one in the nation for having the most Tree City USA designations with 243.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.