TREE PLANTING: Rotary club hosts tree enthusiast

COLUMBIA CITY — At the June 12 meeting, the Rotary Club featured guest speaker, Dick Haworth.Haworth has been at the forefront of protecting the tree-scape in Columbia City for more than 30 years. Haworth, and his dedicated committee, have been landscaping the Peabody Library grounds with 40 of the most common trees in Indiana.This project is a follow up to another attempt made several years ago by the Soil and Water Conservation department. “Unfortunately,” Haworth said, “The deer got to the young trees, and before they could be stopped, the result was almost a total loss.”This time Haworth and fellow participants, Francis Brown, Deb Lawrence, Bob Cornmesser, Mike Hayes, Jim Nelson, Bill Overdeer, Doug Smith and a few others, were more aware of what devastation the deer can cause to young, developing trees. Now, each of the 40 seedlings are encased in a rolled-up piece of plastic, four feet tall with the top covered by a screen to keep birds from becoming trapped. Once the seedling grows and reaches over the top of the plastic tube, the tube will be removed and the young tree will have a better chance to survive. Nothing is a guarantee, however. Haworth said they planted five of the “hard-to-raise” American Chestnuts and only one survived, but at least there is that one, so far. Haworth said the project will give someone, who might see a tree in a book and might want to plant one in their own yard, the chance to see an example of that very tree, and appreciate its size and overall dimensions. Each of the trees is planted 35 feet apart and labeled with a large sign telling the visitor what species the tree is. In fact, according to Haworth, there is a one mile nature trail all the way around the pond at the library that showcases the 40 trees.This time the program was sponsored by the state in accordance to the Re-leaf program whereby the State of Indiana supported the reforestation of Indiana cities.This was put in effect partially due to the loss of so many trees to the Ash borer infestation. “The removal of these trees is costing thousands of dollars to municipal coffers, and tragically changing the landscape of so many of our towns,” said Haworth. Columbia City is the only city in the state with two wetlands within the city limits and which makes Columbia City an ideal place to propagate trees.