Rose Garden
Neighborhood Association

RGNA Tree Project Update - Fall Planting News

August 15, 2012 7:38 PM | Amy & Ted Douglass

Fall Planting Project

Fall is a great time to plant trees and we are ready to move forward with the RGNA reforestation effort. We have made an arrangement with Walker's Tree Farm, located near Lehighton, to provide the service. If you are interested in planting a tree this fall or next spring, all you have to do is contact David Walker at (570) 657-6302 by the end of August to make the arrangements. We were impressed with the quality, quantity and size of their stock. Some of the larger trees were spectacular and would create an instant impact anywhere.  

Purpose of the Tree Project

One of the most beautiful features of the West End is the canopy of trees that still line some of our streets. Many neighbors have agreed that it is one of the most important features that attracted them to the neighborhood in the first place and are willing to take action to preserve it. Unfortunately, time has taken its toll and recent storms have accelerated the decline of our trees. The goals of the fall planting project are to: replace the many trees lost over the years; maintain the green canopy; increase the diversity of trees; and include some native species in support of the Audubon Bird Town initiative. We hope to promote several group plantings in the course of the next several years.

Summer Activities

The summer months were busy as we researched and learned more about planting trees in urban areas. We were disappointed with the news that we did not receive a TreeVitalize grant this year. In order to move forward, we identified a tree nursery that is working with us to help us achieve our goals by providing a volume discount on trees. In addition, we had twelve volunteers work with us to do an inventory of the trees in the neighborhood that will provide guidance about what to plant along the streets. We measured the width of the verge and the diameter of the trees at breast height, noted utility lines that restrict planting options, and identified existing trees. The process confirmed that some areas are desperately in need of reforestation.

Fall Planting Project Underway

The individuals who expressed interest in planting trees earlier this spring were invited to a meeting in late July to be introduced to David Walker and to discuss the process. Many have already signed up for a landscape consultation.

The Walker's Tree Farm of Lehighton, PA, is a family run business established in 1925 with over 100 acres of trees. If you are not sure what to plant and would like some guidance, contact David Walker: (570) 657-6302. David has already set aside two days to be available in our area for consultations with home owners or home owners may visit the farm to select and tag a tree. Trees should be selected by the middle of September for fall planting or by February for a spring planting. Walker's may be able to assist homeowners in finding trees not currently available through Walker's Tree Farm.

We have worked with the city to obtain recommendations about what to plant. The City has agreed to grant a group permit and waive the standard permit fee for each homeowner participating in this project. The City will also take care of the PA One-Call requirements to check for underground utilities prior to digging.

The trees will be delivered and planted by David Walker and his crew as scheduled with the home owner beginning after the first frost. Aftercare for a newly planted tree is critical. The homeowner may opt to purchase a Gator Bag to assist with watering.


  • What should I consider when planting a tree?
    Look down. What is the size of the verge? Look up. Are there electric power lines along your side of the street? What are the existing trees and what can I do to achieve our goals? Discuss options with David Walker
  • Can I cut my sidewalk to allow more room for the tree?
    Yes. However, we recommend that you work with a professional. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA)  requires that the remaining sidewalk be at least 36" wide.
  • What can I do to minimize the root damage to the sidewalks?
    Plant a tree that is appropriate to the size of the verge.
  • Where can I find the City's guidelines for planting trees?
    The City's guidelines can be found on the RGNA website under Park and Garden.  (LINK)
  • What is the required distance between a utility pole and the site to plant a new tree?
    The National Arbor Day website and PPL recommend that homeowners plant a tree 20 feet from a utility pole for safety. (See RGNA Link)
  • What kind of trees should we consider planting under electric power lines?
    The National Arbor Day website and PPL recommend that homeowners plant trees that will grow no taller than 30 feet.  Some recommended species include: Amur Maples, several varieties of cherry trees, Hackberries, Serviceberries, and others.
  • Where can I find a source to learn about trees and help me decide what I want to plant?
    We are fortunate to live in this corner of the Lehigh Valley because there are three locations within walking distance where we can go look at trees. Muhlenberg College recently labeled all of the trees on their campus. Take a stroll and observe where they planted Sugar Maples, Red Maples, Honey Locusts, Sycamores and Elms. Cedar Crest College offers the William F. Curtis Arboretum, where you will find 36 magnificent labeled specimens, as well as other labeled trees that are not part of the arboretum collection. You can also observe and study their placement and use in the landscape. Stop at one of the main buildings to ask for a brochure to guide you. (I got mine in the library.) For more information see: The third option is West Park, on Linden Street between 16th and 17th streets, the place where children, for years, have gone to collect leaves for school projects.

Some helpful websites include:

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