Call about problem trees, urges City of Windsor Forest Service

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Among the tens of thousands of trees on public property in Windsor, there could be more that could fall in a storm like the one that injured a man on Tuesday night. That’s why the city’s forest service is asking people to call.

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Among the tens of thousands of trees on public property in Windsor, there may be others that could fall in a storm like the one that seriously injured a man on Tuesday night.

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This is why the City of Windsor Forest Service

depends on citizens to call 311 and draw attention to potentially problematic trees.

“We rely on the public to some extent,” said Bill Roesel, city manager of forestry and horticulture. “We will receive 3,500 calls a year, and we inspect every one of them. “

“If people have a concern (about a tree) – Absolutely, call 311, and we’ll be happy to take a look at that tree for them.”

A downed tree on Sandwich Street in West Windsor on August 26, 2014 (Jason Kryk / The WINdsor Star)
A downed tree on Sandwich Street in West Windsor on August 26, 2014 (Jason Kryk / The WINdsor Star)

The Roesel department – which has an internal team of seven employees – was busy Wednesday, scrambling to answer about three dozen calls from across town about trees damaged in the severe thunderstorm the night before.

“We’ll be getting more (calls) I’m sure,” Roesel said, noting that his department had always dealt with damage from the previous week’s storm when Tuesday night’s weather brought a new wave. of requests.

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Roesel said the latest batch of damage was particularly severe in the western part of the city center.

For reasons of liability, Roesel declined to comment specifically on the incident in the 400 block of Victoria Avenue where a large tree fell on a 54-year-old man walking on the sidewalk.

As of Wednesday evening, the man was still in critical condition.

Many observers have noted the poor condition of the tree in question. Most of its branches were leafless, and the trunk seemed hollow where it had been blown by the wind.

Windsor residents Tim Meyers (left) and Ron Deroches look at the fallen tree on Victoria Avenue on August 26, 2014 (Nick Brancaccio / The Windsor Star)
Windsor residents Tim Meyers (left) and Ron Deroches look at the fallen tree on Victoria Avenue on August 26, 2014 (Nick Brancaccio / The Windsor Star)

Roesel said the reality is that Windsor has between 55,000 and 70,000 trees along its streets which are the responsibility of the municipality.

The overwhelming workload regularly forces the city to contract outside forestry services.

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In April, the board approved an agreement for a period of $ 165,000 with Columbia Utility Services

specifically to deal with “our backlog of individual tree cuts requested by citizens”. The contract is expected to take care of approximately 2,500 trees.

But Roesel sticks to the work of his internal team. “They’re really good at it and they move around town pretty quickly,” he said.

However, Roesel admitted there was a waiting list. Cases are prioritized taking into account factors such as location, conditions, growth structure, and even species.

“Not all cavities can be a problem. Sometimes decay is not a serious problem, ”said Roesel. “It’s not just one thing. We are looking at a whole bunch of things to determine what needs to be done. “

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When asked how long it could take for an application to be completed, Roesel replied, “It can take up to a year. It is not uncommon.

He added that the spring season is prone to backlogs, as that’s when many residents start thinking about trees and making calls.

“What people don’t always know is that we do tree maintenance 12 months a year,” Roesel said. “We prune, we make moves. We will plant even in the middle of winter, if we can.

“It’s in progress. Unfortunately, we are falling behind, this is normal.

The city’s current annual budget for tree maintenance is just under $ 2 million.

Bill Roesel, City of Windsor Director of Forestry and Horticulture, August 27, 2014 (Tyler Brownbridge / The Windsor Star)
Bill Roesel, City of Windsor Director of Forestry and Horticulture, August 27, 2014 (Tyler Brownbridge / The Windsor Star)

Are you wondering about local trees? Don’t be confused

  • Windsor-Essex has less than 8 percent forest cover – the lowest in Ontario.
  • In addition to the 55,000 to 70,000 street trees, the City of Windsor is responsible for approximately 30,000 trees in the park.
  • All poplar, willow, prickly locust and Manitoba maple species are prohibited from planting on municipal rights-of-way.
  • The municipal tree bylaw also prohibits members of the public from destroying or injuring any tree belonging to the city. Fines can reach a maximum of $ 25,000 for individuals or $ 100,000 for corporations.
  • When planting trees, the forest service rule is never to have more than three species in the same row.
  • Silver maples are a poor choice for street trees due to their speed of growth, brittle nature, and relatively short lifespan.
  • There is no federal or provincial program specifically designed to help municipalities deal with tree loss.

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