The Trees of Tree Town
Guerin Wilkinson, owner of Green Street Tree Care and another School of Natural Resources alumnus, agrees with the need for variety--but also sees the virtues of symmetry. "There's this argument that we did so badly with elms and ashes because we overused them and didn't diversify," he says. "You don't want 50 percent of your trees to be all one species. But to take one bald cypress from the Southern swamps, put it next to some untested ornamental tree from Asia and a disease-resistant American elm, and it's this hodgepodge of stripes and plaids with no fashion sense. Why not have a street of hackberries? It's so much nicer when you've got that view, like France with alleys of sycamores or lindens, and they make these spectacular shows."
"Our main goal is to preserve, protect, maintain, and expand Ann Arbor's tree canopy and urban forest," says Kerry Gray, the city urban forestry and natural resources planner who's overseeing the new plan. A key change, she writes in a later email, is "to develop a proactive tree maintenance program [for] publicly managed trees emphasizing routine pruning, removals and care. A routine pruning program is more efficient, cost effective and improves the quality, condition and value of the urban forest."