Rose Garden
Neighborhood Association

RGNA - West End Tree Project

May 08, 2012 9:10 PM | Amy & Ted Douglass

Contributed by Becky Bowen of the Park & Garden Committee

Approximately 30 RGNA neighbors attended a meeting at the Masonic Temple on March 22nd to learn more about what we can do to revitalize the 100 year old trees that have graced our West End streets and added so much beauty to our lives. The October snow storm took quite a toll on the neighborhood and it is sad to hear the chain saws and watch the trees being taken down as a result. This meeting at the Masonic Temple was the result of a discussion started at a Park and Garden Committee meeting to understand what, if anything, could be done--potentially in partnership with the city--to support an effort to replace the many trees that have come down recently.

The RGNA Steering Committee agreed that this should be a top priority for RGNA this year.

We are pleased to report that many meeting attendees expressed interest in helping to revitalize the tree canopy that initially attracted so many of us to this neighborhood. And now the work begins!

What is the RGNA Tree Project?

This is a new initiative and is in the formative stages. It is being developed by neighbors who have volunteered to work with the Department of Parks and Recreation to identify actions we can take to revitalize the trees in the neighborhood. There is one option available to us now and two other options currently under exploration with the city to present to RGNA neighbors.

Option 1 (Currently available): Work individually with the city in choosing a street tree for your property: Choose a tree from the City's approved City Street Tree List  (also available from the City's Shade Tree Commission at the Parks & Recreation office building). You'll need to get the City's approval for your tree selection and planting site before the City will issue you a planting permit, which you need to have signed by the City before you can plant your tree. Purchase the tree from a nursery and either plant it or pay someone to plant it on your property.

Option 2 (In the information gathering stage): The city has offered us the option of working together with their assistance to plant between 30 – 40 trees along city streets. If the city purchases the trees, we benefit from a volume discount on the trees and the materials needed to plant a tree. RGNA needs to solicit interest, select the trees and be available to work with the city employees on the day of the planting. The city will purchase the trees that are selected by neighbors; will dig the holes for planting along the streets; and will supply mulch and staking materials as needed. Several days before a targeted date, the city employees will dig the holes. On the selected date the city will deliver the trees to the planting site. This is when RGNA neighbors get involved - we need to be present and take on the responsibility of finishing the planting and then maintain proper care for the tree. We also need 8 - 10 volunteers to work with the city employees the day of planting to assist with the distribution and delivery of trees and materials. The trees provided will be 2.5 - 3 inch caliper (10 to 12 feet). With a volume purchase and assistance from the city we estimate the cost to the homeowner will be approximately $250 per planted tree (depending on the tree selected by the home owner).

We (RGNA) need to define a process to collect information and place an order with the city and a process to collect the payments for the trees. When we have sufficient interest, we will select a planting date.

Option 3 (Also in the information gathering stage): There are grants available for obtaining trees for neighborhoods that would not require a cash outlay on our part. The city would obtain the trees, and deliver and plant them at no cost to individual homeowners. However, we do need to participate in the solicitation process and, more importantly, to be eligible for these types of grants, RGNA would need to show in the grant that we have recruited 8 - 10 volunteers to become "tree tenders," who would agree to participate in a training program about planting and caring for trees. Grants are subject to the approval of other organizations and there is no guarantee that we will receive one. However, RGNA will continue to explore that option.

Complete a Results of Interest Survey:
To act as a group and benefit from options 2 and/or 3 we need to organize a tree project and for that we need cooperation and the assistance of neighbors. At the end of the meeting on March 22nd some participants completed a brief survey. Here are the results:

  • Information sheets returned: 10
  • Number of trees needed: 15
  • Volunteers to organize the project: 6
  • Interested in Training: 5
  • Group Purchase: 6
  • Volunteers on day of Purchase: 6

This is just the beginning. We need a small core group of organizers and we need to identify areas of focus for a pilot project to plant between 30 to 40 trees in the near future. I expect that we will hear from other neighbors who didn't return the form immediately after the meeting.

From the addresses of the first ten (10) respondents, the initial areas could include: Gordon, 31st, Arch and Chew Streets. The project, however, is not limited to these areas.

Next Steps

  • Contact people who expressed interest in planting trees
  • Form a core organizational group
  • Meet with city arborist
  • Determine how to do a tree inventory and design plan (i.e. guidance on selecting trees that complement the neighborhood, hearty, resistant to some of the more common diseases)
  • Select pilot areas based on total West End participants and their areas of residence
  • Determine a planting date for Fall 2012
  • Solicit additional interest from other neighbors in those smaller areas
  • When we have interest in planting a minimum of 30 trees, plan the event

What can you do?
If you have not signed up, please consider doing so now by calling Becky Bowen at 610.434.4396 or e-mailing: We have demonstrated to the City that we can generate a group interested in planting at least 40 - 50 trees and are now working on establishing a planting date for early Fall. We can still use volunteers to define and shape the program and to make it a reality. The RGNA Steering and Park and Garden Committees feel strongly that this is truly a universal benefit to the West End. As this is our neighborhood, we strongly urge you to work together with us, neighborhood-wise, to achieve this goal.

Please stay tuned for more information as well, to be posted on the RGNA Park and Garden page, including Tree Lists, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), contact information for the Park and Garden Committee and updates on the progress.

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