For those of you that drive down Hull Street, this is going to be old news. Last year when the mature crepe myrtles were in full bloom, City of Richmond workers came on trucks with chainsaws and cut all the blooms off the trees.
I was upset while I watched them cut because the trees were old and beautiful. But I was also concerned because they were cutting so low. I was nearly certain they were going to kill the trees. But I decided to bite my tongue. I was afraid of being met with claims that they would grow back, I wasn’t an arborist, and I didn’t know what I was talking about. So I didn’t say anything at the time.
Well, unfortunately my concerns have come to fruition. The trees are hacked to pieces. The survivors are maimed shells of their former selves, and most are now dead. Adding to the woes, the massive cutting has inspired shoots to sprout from the base of the trees. These shoots create a bit of an upside down tree that blocks all lines of sight down the sidewalk. The police hate this, as they cannot see down the block when they patrol the area or are searching for someone. It is a significant safety concern. In fact, last year the police started trimming the shoots themselves so they could improve the safety and appearance of Hull Street.
It is too bad that former Mayor Jones’ arborist crew created this new problem for Hull Street. We are working so hard to bring the street back to life. Last year’s volunteer crew who planted 100 tress throughout Manchester including the empty tree wells along Hull St were an inspiration. In fact, volunteers are giving their free time on weekends to water the newly planted trees for the second year in a row in order to make sure they survive.
Now we are in need of new trees yet again thereby creating an unnecessary expense. Let’s hope Mayor Stoney addresses this problem by replacing the trees the City workers killed and puts the city arborist crew through what appears to be some badly needed tree maintenance training.