116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In coming weeks, Cedar Rapids crews will cut down as many as 2,000 more trees damaged in last year’s derecho.
Some of these trees marked with red or orange tags were trimmed last fall to remove hanging branches. Now, in a second pass, crews will remove the trees that have so much structural damage or canopy loss they aren’t expected to recover.
“We have tried to save every tree we can,” said Scott Hock, Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation director. “Compared to pre-derecho, we probably left 1,500 trees that normally would have come down.”
After the Aug. 10 windstorm, Cedar Rapids officials estimated the city would lose half its tree canopy — or more than 20,000 trees. The city has removed just under 8,000 trees and expects that total to reach around 10,000, Hock said.
The city has gotten some questions from residents about why more trees now have been marked for removal. Red or orange tree tags, or spray-painted X’s of any color, mean the tree will be cut down. Yellow tags indicate the tree will be trimmed, Hock said.
Adding to confusion, some heavily damaged trees may put out a profusion of suckers — small branches with new leaves — that can be mistaken for healthy growth. These weak branches along larger branches usually are a sign of a distressed tree that needs to be removed.
But at the same time trees are being removed, new trees are being planted. Noelridge Park got 100 trees earlier this month, and Cleveland Park got 48 trees last weekend as part of ReLeaf Cedar Rapids, Hock said.
The Cedar Rapids City Council in February agreed to contribute $500,000 to Trees Forever for its collaboration in crafting an urban reforestation plan for public and private spaces in Cedar Rapids.
“The ReLeaf plan won’t be done until the fall, but we are trying to get trees back in,” Hock said.
The city also has started to remove stumps left from earlier tree removals, Hock said. Crews will start with main thoroughfares and then move to smaller residential streets.
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