Replacing Bradford Pears at courthouse

Published 5:47 pm Monday, November 19, 2012

The Polk County Courthouse sits, waiting the arrival of new Sugar maple trees. The Bradford Pear trees that sat there last week were removed due to breakage. (photo by Leah Justice)

Sugar maple planted after WWII

After having to remove Bradford Pear trees in front of the Polk County Courthouse due to breakage, the Town of Columbus will plant Sugar Maples soon.

Columbus Town Council met Thursday, Nov. 15 and heard from town manager Jonathan Kanipe that the stumps were to be grinded over the weekend and he and Polk County Cooperative Extension Director John Vining planned to pick out sugar maples on Monday, Nov. 19.

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Kanipe told council removing the Bradford Pears wasn’t done without forethought. He said the pictures of the broken limb were worth a thousand words.

“We are fortunate no persons or property were under there at the time,” said Kanipe.

The town plans to replace the Bradford Pears with sugar maples due to them being strong trees and for tradition.

Sugar maples were planted in 1944 or 1945 in honor of veterans who served in World War II, according to Vining. The sugar maples lined the courthouse for approximately 40 years before the Bradford Pears replaced them in 1984 by the Columbus Revitalization Committee.

“Unfortunately in 1984 we did not know the pear trees would start to break apart after 30 years of growth,” Vining said. “The pear trees in Columbus were around 28 years of age.”

Vining said they are choosing to go back with the Sugar Maple for tradition since the courthouse is 153 years old.

He also said the Sugar Maple will fit the surroundings and they make lovely landscape trees and the fall color is spectacular. The Sugar Maple is also strong with very little breakage, he said.

The town is looking into 2-inch diameter Sugar Maples between 12 and 18 feet in height. Vining said they are looking to plant a variety of Sugar Maple called “Green Mountain.”

Columbus will need to place gator bags (green bags) around the new trees to assist in watering due to the one downside of Sugar Maples is their limited drought tolerance, Vining said.

Kanipe said the new trees will be planted in the same general area, but the suggestion has been made not to plant as close to the steps as the Bradford Pears were in order to have a full view of the courthouse.

The town plans to have the new trees planted by the end of the year.