A report on the state of Laurinburg’s “urban forest” revealed that more than 120 trees need to be removed due to their poor condition.
Conducted by John Sugg of Treefull Communities, the urban forestry report surveyed approximately 4,000 trees — mostly crepe myrtle and dog wood — inside the city of Laurinburg. The report was funded by a matching grant of $15,000 from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the North Carolina Forestry Service.
“The city has a lot of beautiful trees,” Sugg told the Laurinburg City Council during its regular meeting on Tuesday.
Sugg estimates that about 2,000 more trees are left to be surveyed. The study was discontinued after the initial grant funding was spent. City officials plan to re-apply for the grant this year to complete the tree study.
According to Sugg, 122 trees inside the city need to be removed.
“That’s the largest list I have seen, but not the largest by percentage. You have a lot of trees, and once you complete the pruning you will have a lot safer and more beautiful urban forest,” Sugg said.
The tree study attempted to identify trees that could pose a danger to people and property below.
So far, 281 trees in the city suffer from a dangerous condition known as “cavity,” which Sugg said is just what it sounds like — a hole or hollow in the tree structure.
“Trunk injury” was the second most common arboreal issue, with 185 trees suffering from the condition.
“(Cavity problems) are found in a lot of these large old oak trees that the city has … and it is time for a lot of them to come out,” Sugg said of the trees. “You won’t lose any trees though, because you will replace them.”
According to Sugg, the recent work by utilities companies to cut trees away from power lines has paid off. He only identified one tree with an “active electrical wire conflict.”
Included in Sugg’s report was a prioritized list of trees that needed to be removed as well as repaired.
Of the 3,726 trees surveyed by Sugg, 589 are crepe myrtle, and that is not a good thing
“They are far over-planted. There is a disease risk, if there was a disease to come along that affected only (crepe myrtle) trees, you would lose a lot of trees” Sugg warned.
Sugg added that he was pleased to report that the second most popular tree in the city is the native dog wood. 586 of the trees surveyed were of that variety.
Willow oak, lob lolly pine, water oak, red maple, red cedar and sugar maple represented some of the other trees surveyed, ordered from greatest in number to least.
About 61 percent of the trees Sugg surveyed were found to be in “good” condition. A further 33 percent were found to be in “fair” condition, while 5.82 percent were found to be in “poor” condition.
Only .27 percent of the surveyed trees were dead.
Retiring employee recognized
Also during the meeting, one of the city’s longest-tenured employees was recognized as she prepares to retire from the city.
Robin McLaurin Roeben has worked for the city for more than 35 years, last serving as senior customer representative.
“We don’t even have a pin for 35 years,” joked Mayor Tommy Parker, who presented Roeben with a plaque recognizing her service to the city.
After receiving the plaque, Roeben thanked the city and the mayor for allowing her the opportunity to serve.