Summer is only days away, and the city of Columbus is celebrating by planting a plethora of new trees along James Street.
Sixty-six trees were planted on the corridor, 24 of which were Columbus’ unofficial mascot, the Eastern Redbud.
The trees took root last week as replacements for the many that had to be removed in the spring of 2017 as part of the James Street Reconstruction Project undertaken by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Late last year, residents who had foliage removed were given a packet detailing a list of trees preapproved by the city. Property owners were allowed to choose a number of trees equal to the amount they had removed. They could also select an additional free redbud.
The trees being planted include Autumn Gold Gingkoes, Skyline Honey Locusts, Burr Oaks, Glenleven Lindens, New Horizon Elms, Ivory Silk Japanese Lilacs, Black Gums, Hackberries, Swamp White Oaks and, of course, Eastern Redbuds. The trees listed were chosen for their fragrant spring flowers or colorful fall foliage.
Thought was also given to diversity of species to help avoid unsightly infestation or disease similar to the current Emerald Ash Borer outbreak affecting the common Ash tree located throughout the state.
The Redbud was the smallest tree offered to residents, but several of the other options have the potential to grow 80 feet in height. In a few years, residents will be able to enjoy a pleasant, leafy summer-time canopy, shading them from the hot summer sun along one of Columbus’ main drags.
All trees were planted by McKay Nursery of Waterloo. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation provided a credit to the city of $500 per tree removed. The total credit covered the replacement costs, and the city was able to provide replacement trees at no additional cost to the taxpayer.