I know the town doesn’t have any money. I know people want to spend, well, nothing.
But here’s a program that we can still somehow do together: Put the elms back in Elmwood.
Since Dutch Elm Disease wiped out 100 million American Elm trees during the 20th century, including most of the tree-lined streets in our cities, the trees are hard to find. But that’s changing thanks to disease-resistant varieties that are on the market now.
USA Today, for example, recently had a story about the return of the elm tree. Even Home Depot is selling the new version of the famous old trees.
It’s time that we jump on the bandwagon in this town and start planting trees again, beginning with new elms in Elmwood.
Not long ago, Rick Liftig posted in one thread here that the “Elmwood Business Association will be sponsoring an elm planting program over the next several months. We will be starting with a small project and hope that things will ‘blossom’ from there. Despite the elm tree moniker, the program is meant to be a town-wide (and likely species diverse) effort that will hopefully continue for many years.”
That’s terrific news, which the Courant oddly hasn’t jumped on yet.
But it doesn’t need to be “a small project” that one business group is sponsoring. This should be a townwide initiative that aims in the long run to plant more trees everywhere to make sure West Hartford in 50 or 100 years looks better than it does today, with giant, native trees dotting the landscape.
Perhaps the town could buy elms in bulk and sell them at discounted rates to residents who promise to plant them in West Hartford. Or perhaps a tree tax break is possible somehow. Or maybe we could just get a fund going to buy the trees and give them away in areas that most need more trees. I’m fuzzy on the details, only certain that the idea has merit.
Liftig wrote on a comment on this blog that “informal discussions have shown us that the Town is very interested in pursuing these avenues by partnering with the communities and community organizations.” That means there’s already something afoot. I just hope it’s not stamped under foot by the budget debacle.
Tree planting programs are catching on all over. But let’s be a leader in this and make West Hartford even more green. And let’s start by bringing the elms back to Elmwood.