Study provides insight on health of Rogers City’s tree population

News Photo by Julie Riddle Collette Welch and chihuahua-dachshund mix Murphy walk past trees growing in Memorial Park Cemetery in Rogers City on Friday.

ROGERS CITY — There are 1,864 trees on Rogers City-owned property and enough room to plant more, but the city must do more to improve the health of its current tree population, a recent study conducted to help the city craft a tree inventory and management plan shows.

Rogers City knows the importance of its trees and what they mean for people’s quality of life, the environment, and economic development. At Friday’s Team Rogers City meeting, local business and government officials received details on the plan’s development and its findings.

The city utilized a portion of a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation — with Huron Pines acting as the fiduciary — to cover the cost of the study and plan.

Julie Stacheckii, consultant and certified arborist for Site Specific, explained the work put into the study to amass data on how many trees and stumps there are, how many sites could accommodate trees as well as the type and size of the trees.

“We went tree by tree by tree in the city’s green-spaces, right-of-ways, parks, the cemetery and any city-owned property,” she said. “This provides a snapshot of the tree population and data for them.”

According to Stachecki, of the 1,864 trees on city-owned property, 1,158 of them are a combination of different breeds of maple trees, which easily was the most prevalent of the 51 species found.

She said the average diameter of the tree population was 11.4 inches and there are 856 possible planting spaces available. The average tree condition was slightly below average, because of broken limbs, damage, or disease, the study shows.

Stachecki said the city is behind on replacing old and unhealthy trees and action is needed, over time, to improve the tree population’s health. She said the city hasn’t removed sick or damaged trees in the numbers it should.

“They are in a state of failure and the number of tree removals that have been removed is quite low, from year to year,” she said.

Stachecki said the plan also outlines what the city should budget for tree removal each year until 2033.

Steve Lane of Great Lakes Urban Forestry Management, said the standing value of the tree is about $5 million and provides a source of savings for residents. He said people don’t realize trees can have a positive financial impact and are beneficial to the environment.

“A tree can provide shade on your roof and an air conditioner has to work less hard to cool your home,” he said. “That same tree in the winter, if situated properly, can buffer winds and keep your house warmer longer. They soak up carbon dioxide, improve our air quality, and help address stormwater runoff.”

Lane said trees in town and in neighborhoods also appeal to potential homebuyers and those who want to open businesses in Rogers City.

One of the goals for the city is to diversify its tree population. Lane said any new trees must be able to withstand the harsh winter weather of Northeast Michigan as well as the salt they are subjected to when ice and snow cover roads and sidewalks.

Stachecki said some of the types of trees that will thrive in the area are London planetree, red oak, Kentucky coffeetree, and tulip trees.

“We parsed through many, many tree options and presented a list that we feel would be the most tolerant to the conditions found across Rogers City,” she said. “It is important that you have the right plant, in the right place. It is determined by what type of soil is available. How much space is there? What type of exposure will the tree be subjected to? We need to make sure we’re matching the trees we put into the community with the conditions that exist.”

The consultants also considered city finances when it drafted the plan. Stachecki said a good way to make tree projects more affordable is to utilize residents who are willing to help. She said people can help plant and groom trees, and water them if needed.

“This would require an engaged community to help reach the milestones that are outlined in the plan,” Stachecki said.

Rogers City tree facts

Number of trees — 1,864

Species — 55

Open planting sites — 856

Stumps — 10

Average size (Diameter) — 11.39″

Source: Recent study conducted for a tree inventory and management plan


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