Princeton officials are launching a town-wide inventory of all trees in the municipal right-of-way in efforts to assess a tree’s health and to offer guidance on future tree plantings.
The Princeton Council awarded a $125,000 contract to the Davey Resource Group of Kent, Ohio at its June 27 meeting. The breakdown is $119,200 for field work to identify the trees and $5,800 for software, officials said.
The field inventory of street trees will likely begin in late summer, officials said. The database of street trees should be ready by the end of the year. Street trees are those trees planted within a municipal right-of-way. They are maintained by the town.
The Davey Resource Group’s urban foresters will locate trees, planting sites and stumps along street rights-of-way and in public parks and properties, according to its proposal to the town. There are an estimated 19,000 sites.
The town conducted a municipal street tree inventory about 20 years ago using volunteers, but the database is outdated, Municipal Arborist Taylor Sapudar said in a June 2 memo to the Princeton Council.
A new field survey of the municipal street trees is needed to provide the town with a better understanding of the urban forest and its needs, he said.
The inventory of street trees will alert the town of the potential for tree failure due to pests and insects, Sapudar said. It will also guide spending decisions based on the specific condition of a tree.
The survey will offer guidance on which dead or decayed trees need to be removed immediately. It will also offer guidance on which trees with disease or pest problems can be treated to save or extend the tree’s life, and which healthy trees can be treated to prevent problems.
“The inventory will assist Princeton in establishing a scope and timetable for tree work based on the priority ratings of the recommendations, the established costs and the town’s budget,” Sapudar said.
The tree inventory report will also provide a breakdown by tree species, he said. It will highlight any over-represented species and serve as a guide for new plantings to ensure species diversity. This will protect the urban forest from devastation from a single pest or disease.
The Davey Resource Group’s experts will suggest planting sites for new trees, based on factors such as growing space, overhead utilities and proximity to signs, lights and intersections, according to its proposal to the town.