The Twisted Twig

Tree Commission and Village Master Planting Design

By Roger DeGood - Guest Columnist

After reading The Twisted Twig over the last year, you might be asking just who is the Swanton Tree Commission and what does it mean to me and the community as a whole?

The Commission is a group of diverse volunteers with the like mindset of improving and managing the livable environment in the village. They serve to provide guidance to government officials and village staff in managing all the trees located in the parks and on the village rights-of-way. All Tree Commission members are either in the process of completing or have graduated from an intensive urban forest management course developed by the Ohio DNR, Division of Forestry.

We realized that a lot of this information would benefit Swanton homeowners in the creation and maintenance of your own “forests.” We are eager bring this information to you, the general public, and promote the benefits of a healthy population of street, yard, and park trees.

The Swanton Tree Commission meets monthly and holds three major events a year. With the help of the primary school staff, we sponsor a spring Arbor Day Celebration where students plant a new tree. We host a booth at the Swanton Corn Fest where area residents can ask questions, get information, and graphically see the benefits that landscape trees provide.

In the fall we sponsor workshops for tree professionals, other tree commissions, and government officials on various topics like young tree training, chain saw safety, and tree biomechanics. We’d love to speak at other village organization gatherings about tree-related issues as well. Commission members have been responsible for earning and maintaining Tree City USA status for the Village of Swanton. This award recognizes that the Village is a tree-centric community, invests a reasonable amount in our village tree program each year, and that we have an active and dedicated Tree Commission.

One of their other duties to the community is to create and maintain a Village Master Planting Design. This design, which is part of Swanton’s Urban Forestry Management Plan, provides guidance to current and future Tree Commissioners about tree species placement within the Village for generations to come to assure successful growth and an enhanced, mature tree canopy. Tree species are assigned on a block to block basis with the goal of planting the most robust and largest mature-sized tree. Species are also assigned to maximize biological and age diversity Village-wide. Should a disease, invasive insect, or adverse weather event pop up, the Village will not lose its whole forest at once.

The Tree Commission has surveyed most of the plantable sites in the village. Using a set of 10 criteria from soil conditions to vehicle speed, we came up with an Urban Site Index (USI) or score for each village block. The USI score indicates what size and species might do best at each location. The Village Urban Forestry Management Plan is a living document and is updated annually as we continue to develop our Master Planting Design and develop other components of Swanton’s community tree care program such as tree risk assessment, tree inventory, marketing, and work scheduling.

So you see, the Swanton Tree Commission is a busy bunch. Should you have questions and need assistance, call the Village Offices at 419-826-9515 on how to contact a Tree Commissioner near you and visit the Brochure Bank at Village Hall for more information .
Tree Commission and Village Master Planting Design

By Roger DeGood

Guest Columnist