“Can’t complain about getting free trees,” says Williston City Forester, Bruce Johnson.
And cities like Minot, Bismarck, Dickinson and Williston will be getting plenty of them. As part of a tree study conducted by the NDSU Extension Service, 20 tree varieties will be planted to test whether they will survive in the region.
In Williston, homeowners who have previously had a diseased boulevard tree removed from their home will get priority.
“This year, we want to use our open boulevards. Trees that were lost to Dutch Elm disease over the last 15-20 years. That way the homeowners don’t have to come up with any money themselves and plant trees in the boulevard,” says Johnson.
This is the second year the NDSU Extension Service has done the study. Over the next several years, they’ll continue to monitor the trees to see which ones measure and grow up.
Factors that could impact growth included variable seasonal temperatures and soil with high Ph levels.
“I did kind of a wind shield survey here the last couple days and I noticed a couple that didn’t make it,” says Johnson.
Of the 80 trees planted last year, about 90 percent have made it so far. And the city forester says those trees will have a positive impact on the town.
“Over the years, we lost so many trees to disease and storm damage. And they’re not getting replaced fast enough.So this way we repopulate the trees and a lot of them are flowering trees too so we get a little color,” says Johnson.
And while the flowers add a little color to the city, the tree study will add to knowledge of species that can be successfully grown in the region.
Those interested in taking part in the study in Williston can contact the Public Works Department.