Erie Town Forester Tom Read estimates he gets about a dozen calls a week from residents asking for recommendations on which trees to plant.
To bolster the diversity of Erie’s tree population, the city offers residents and businesses several programs, including a $200 rebate for the purchase of a tree from a list of tree species. approved, purchased from an approved nursery.
The discount is applied to their city utility bill.
“I think a unique thing about the Front Range, and Erie in particular, is that we’re an old town with new growth going on. A lot of these neighborhoods were grassland before the landscaping,” Read said. “We hear a lot about deforestation, and in Erie we basically do what I call deforestation. All of these new trees planted, when they mature, provide truly significant benefits to a community with measurable impact.
Although this is his first year with the Erie Parks and Recreation Department, Read has been a Boulder County forester for more than a decade. He cites the invasion and damage caused by the emerald ash borer as a reason for the increased tree diversity that the city’s tree program promotes.
“What the emerald ash borer has taught us is that planting too many of one species is a very risky thing to do, especially when insects and diseases can travel the world at a rapid pace,” said Read.
“So what we’re always looking to do is keep an eye on diversity and not let one or two species become the majority.”
The tree planting program runs from September 1 to October 1. 15 to support optimal planting practices. Ash and dwarf varieties whose expected height at maturity is less than 12 feet are excluded from the program.
The rebate application and additional tree planting resources are available on the city’s website.