Santa Fe getting rid of dying trees

New Mexico

Dying trees are coming down in one New Mexico city. Santa Fe city officials said aging Cottonwoods are dying and becoming a public safety risk.

Now, they are re-evaluating what trees should get the ax and where to plant new ones. 

A familiar site in Santa Fe’s historic downtown and throughout the city, are being cut down to mere stumps.

“I love them every time I see them. It’s just nice to have something green on the plaza instead of old adobe,” said Keith Maldonado.   

Ten Cottonwood trees are gone, nine were removed by the city and another fell on its own.

“It’s hard to see them go,” said Santa Fe Parks and Recreation Director John Munoz.

Munoz said last year they started an audit of dead and dying trees. They look for decay, bark damage and dying limbs. 

“Hopefully there are no others but that is the probability,” Munoz said

Munoz said trees planted close to sidewalks tend to suffer.

“Where you have a great deal of the foot traffic you can have soil compaction, and it’s hard for the tree to get water,” Munoz said. 

People who work near the plaza and city hall were sad to see the trees go.

“At least cut part of the tree not the whole thing,” Maldonado said. 

Munoz said his department is proposing hiring a full-time forester and creating an arborist team that would focus on tree care and planting strategy across the city.

“Species that will do well in our environment and our climate, and to plant them in the appropriate places,” Munoz said. 

The city is planning to replace the Cottonwoods, which weren’t even 30 years old, with Oaks and Red Buds. 

“It really depends on how they’re going to maintain them and if in 10 years, 15 years down the line they decide to cut them again, it’s like what’s the point it’s like really?” Maldonado said. 

The city said it will continue to monitor and check the health of trees throughout the city. Right now, now other removals are scheduled. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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