Developer transplants 33 pine trees spared the ax Rescued conifers to take root on N. Main St. SOUTHWEST -- Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

August 13, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Mount Airy officials hope builders will note efforts to spare 33 pine trees from the ax and replant them in a townhouse development under construction.

"We're hoping this encourages developers in other jurisdictions to see this as a feasible option," said Teresa Bamberger, Mount Airy town planner. "This is the first time this has been done in the town that I'm aware of. It's a win-win situation for everybody."

Frall Developers of Mount Airy has been using a truck-mounted tree spade to dig up and replant 33 trees, mostly white pines 20 feet to 30 feet tall, on a five-acre tract on North Main Street, about a block north of the town's new fire station.

"I would hope to see more developers use this technique to accommodate the county's forest conservation ordinance," said Neil Ridgely, Carroll's program manager for landscaping and forest conservation.

As part of the approved landscape plan for Mount Airy Manors, town officials required the builder to move the trees elsewhere on the site. The pines were the only vegetation on the site and needed to be moved to build a road, town officials said.

"The town Planning Commission and myself felt it would be worthwhile to move some of the trees to do some of the landscaping and screening required by the landscape ordinance, instead of having new trees planted in some areas," Ms. Bamberger said.

The town's landscape ordinance requires developers to plant shrubs as screening between different land uses and around parking areas, trash bins and storm-water management ponds. The ordinance also requires trees along streets and ad

ditional landscaping.

The pine trees, some of which are about a foot in diameter, provide a greater benefit to the development's 36 townhouses than new trees would, Ms. Bamberger said. It would take new plantings 10 to 15 years to grow to the size of the existing pines, she said.

Plans for Mount Airy Manors were initially drawn up and approved with a different development group, Main Street Limited Partnership of Boyds, Montgomery County. Frall Developers has since bought the subdivision, town officials said.

"As the new owner, Frall Developers is obligated to carry out the approved plans, and that's what they're in the process of doing," Ms. Bamberger said.

The trees are being replanted along Main Street and a new road leading into the development and as a buffer for adjacent homes and a storm-water management pond.

"It costs a good amount of money to move trees," Ms. Bamberger said. "Frall Developers said it wasn't substantially more expensive than the alternative of clearing the trees and paying for new landscaping."

Brett Gosnell of Frall Developers said about 10 trees remain to be replanted.

As the trees have been dug up, they have been immediately replanted and watered, he said. The trees will remain staked until their root systems are established.

OC "The trees have been there a good long time, and to try to save

them is a great idea," he said. Mr. Ridgely said he was encouraged that the developer would spend the money to have the trees professionally moved, but he expressed concerns about replanting trees in late summer.

"This is about the worst time to move trees. It's been hot and

dry," he said. "But I understand he has to get the majority of the subdivision complete in what is a seasonal time for him. What's good for trees is bad for construction."

Ms. Bamberger said town officials hope most of the trees survive.

"We expect that a certain number of trees are not going to make it," she said. "With proper care and watering this time of the year, we're hopeful 75 percent to 80 percent of the trees will make it."

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