Recognized as a “Tree City USA” locality for more than 30 years, the City of Salisbury is dedicated to the health, vitality and well-being of our city trees. Now that we are able to move forward with the City Park Lake project, we have to think about the best uses of the park as a whole and the long-term effects of the landscaped areas around it. That includes removing, but more importantly, replacing the Willow Oaks and Crepe Myrtles as the City Park Lake project progresses.
First, by removing the current trees, we can improve the soil with compost and install new trees and lawn to help manage the runoff, which has contributed to the current lake issues. We will be able to sow grass creating a natural vegetative buffer that will reduce erosion and will allow kids and others to enjoy the areas near the lake. In turn, tree removal and subsequent replacement, will help improve water quality.
Second, the current trees have become a safety hazard. The roots have increased in diameter and are growing on top of the ground, due to the erosion of the soil. The trees were mulched a few years ago to cover the roots and with heavy rains the mulch washed into the lake. As safety is one of our top concerns, we must ensure that our citizens and visitors can enjoy the property without exposed roots as tripping hazards, additionally making the lake ADA accessible.
Third, the lake dredging contractor will need to build an access road into the lake so they can drive into the lake bed while they are dredging. The most efficient entry area is the shallow end of the lake, between two of the Willow Oaks, which means: Building the road will require the placement of a stone base, on the trees root system. Over time, truck traffic will compact the soil and make absorption of water and nutrients difficult for the trees causing them stress and likely to die. In addition, removal of the stone after the contractor has completed the dredging, will damage the trees root system even more, again causing the trees to die.
Lastly, the current plans call for installation of a walkway around the lake and a pier to make the lake a destination for our citizens and visitors to Salisbury. If we leave the trees and try to work around them, we create problems when we cut to install the new walkway, and fill around the trees to repair the drainage. This too will stress the trees.
It is important to note that we will be installing new trees to grow for many new generations to enjoy. Our professional staff will choose native varieties to grow in our planting zone, 7 a – b. The planting pits will be prepared with a mix of native soils and organic compost so the trees root system have room to grow, expand and absorb nutrients and water instead of the compacted soil of the construction site. We will have better placement to provide a more natural looking site. The new trees will provide shade for the existing shelter and the new features.