DEARBORN — Over the last 31 years, Dearborn has been known as “Tree City, USA.”
Holly Malewski, assistant superintendent of Public Service Division for the city, said it’s a title the city takes very seriously.
“We really pride ourselves on maintaining that title in Dearborn,” she said. “Trees are so important to everyday life, we want to continue to be the leader in this.”
The city replaces any tree that was previously removed due to ongoing projects or for engineering reasons for free.
“Beginning with easement trees removed in 2016, the city of Dearborn offers a free replacement tree to be planted in its place,” a letter sent to residents stated. “The Department of Public Works uses our current tree planting guidelines. Species will be chosen based upon the width of the easement, minimum spacing between trees of 30 feet, stock availability, resistance to insects, disease and diversity with other trees planted in the area. Overhead wires are also taken into consideration. These trees are planted during the fall planting season. The species will be selected by an arborist and planted free of charge.”
The reason for the diversity of the trees, Malewski said, is to prevent mass devastation.
“There has to be diversity in the tree species no matter what,” she said. “If an insect or some sort of disease takes over a species of tree, it will devastate a larger area if that same species is together as opposed to being diverse throughout the area.”
With a list of 16 tree species to choose from for easement planting, residents can also choose their own species at a lower fee.
“If a resident who has had a tree removed wants to choose a particular species or variety from the list of available trees,” the letter said, “then they will be charged our current planting rate of $185 plus tax for residential planting.”
Malewski said that this is lower than what the city pays for the trees to begin with.
“The city purchases the trees for about $238 per tree,” she said. “So if residents want to choose their own tree, for their easement only, we charge the residential planting fee.”
While some residents may want trees to be planted in their backyard or elsewhere, Malewski said this is only for the easement.
“We don’t currently offer anything for tree planting outside of the easement,” she said. “Our arborist comes out and looks at the easement and the surrounding trees as well to determine the best tree for that specific location, bearing in mind the amount of space and other factors.”
Our tree program is a further commitment to our residents that we care deeply about our neighborhoods both aesthetically and environmentally – City Council President Susan Dabaja
Residents have until Sept. 15 to place an order for a tree on the city’s website. Planting will begin mid-late September and run until the beginning of November.
“We plant the trees in the fall because they have the best chance of survival during that time,” Malewski said. “We also plant the trees that are at a smaller size for the best chance of growth over time. Trees impact our quality of life on a daily basis and are a wonderful thing. They provide clean air, absorb rainwater, cool down temperatures, reduce heat, provide a habitat for wildlife and increase property values. We really value trees as a great natural resource in Dearborn.”
City Council President Susan Dabaja said that the tree program is a way the city shows its dedication to residents.
“Our tree program is a further commitment to our residents that we care deeply about our neighborhoods both aesthetically and environmentally,” she said. “A few years ago, the Council requested that every house receive a tree during any construction where tree placement occurs, regardless of whether they had a tree previously or not.”