With funding from the town, Woodstock’s Tree Committee is working toward its long-term goal of restoring the Route 212 and 375 corridors to a stretch of town lined with shade-trees as it was decades ago.
The Town Board recently moved funds from an account funded by donations and used for artist memorials that had sat mostly dormant into one reserved for memorial trees. With that money, the tree committee planted eight trees from Catskill Native Nursery. Four are in front of Woodstock Elementary School and four are along the front of Overlook Methodist Church on Route 212.
Some are sweet gum trees and some are oak, said tree committee chair Michael Veitch. “They’ve got maples that are dying on the front lawn of the school, so when they’re finally gone and have to be cut down, these trees will be three or four or five years into their growth and they’ll be able to pick up the slack,” Veitch said. “We really thank the school for stepping up.”
While specific trees are not dedicated to anyone in particular, they are all memorial trees recognizing someone who made significant contributions to the community, Veitch said. The tree committee is asking for $3200 in next year’s town budget in addition to the roughly $4100 in the memorial tree fund.
“We want to plant another eight trees and we want to purchase these things called gators, which are these bags that in a drought, you attach this bag to the tree and you put water in it and it just sort of slowly feeds into the tree,” Veitch said.
The committee also wants to repair an underground drip-sprinkler system on the Village Green that was installed by arborist and tree committee member Cindy Muro. “During the drought, the trees started turning brown in August,” Veitch said. “It takes a long time to grow these trees, too. And the first year is critical. If you don’t give them a good head start, five years down the road, they just they can shrivel up and die…This summer, I was hauling five-gallon buckets down to the green in my car, because I couldn’t get water on the green. It’s crazy, and I’m hauling it down in buckets, trying to save this poor tree that’s turned brown in August.”
The Route 375 and 212 corridor is the tree committee’s purview, and efforts are underway to restore it to its former glory.
Many of the trees were destroyed by construction over the years and up until recently the committee has been operating on a shoestring budget, with members doing the work themselves.
In the coming years, the committee will work with the state DOT to plant trees as part of the upcoming sidewalk replacement from the Village Green to Schoonmaker Lane. The committee has recommended 40 tree pits in the new sidewalks.
Trees will be planted in the pits gradually over several years, but in the meantime, committee members plan to fill the pits with pollinator gardens until all the planting can be done, according to committee member Carol March.