Grinnell puts down new roots

Hundreds of new trees will be planted in the city of Grinnell this year thanks to three grants.

Most of the trees will find their new homes in rights of way, between the curb and housing on streets throughout Grinnell. In total, close to 500 young trees should be planted in the coming year in various places around the city. Grinnell Public Service Director Dave Popp is responsible for allocating the trees and finding volunteers to help plant them.

The grants are “a funding source for us to utilize to purchase trees to be planted within the city’s parks and rights of way,” Popp said.

These new transplants will be “a refreshment of trees that were lost due to disease or damage,” Popp said, as Grinnell has recently had to remove diseased, dead or dying trees from around the area.

The grants for these trees come from a variety of sources. The city will receive the Branching Out grant from Alliant Energy and Trees Forever, the Operation ReLeaf grant from Alliant and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and a continuation of a two-year urban forestry training grant also administered by the DNR. The DNR training grant involves education on how to manage and maintain public parks, which has been a focus of the community recently.

“It’s more of an educational grant but through that [the DNR] will be providing Grinnell 60 trees for planting,” Popp said. The trees planted with this grant will come with educational training in sustainability.

In choosing what types of trees the city will be planting, a list of native trees were provided by the Branching Out grant. By using this list, Grinnell can choose trees that are native to Iowa and will work well within the local ecosystem.

“We go off of that list when we apply for these grants and there’s not one tree for each grant, it’s a list of different species,” Popp said.

In addition to the trees that will be planted in the right of ways, Grinnell residents will be able to request trees for their own property, as long as the Public Services department deems it safe for power lines and water pipes.

“The community will be put on a list if they would like to see a tree go in front of their residence,” Popp said.

The trees from Operation ReLeaf will be available for purchase at an event on September 19 for $25, and mulch will be provided with the tree. There will also be experts on-site to help with any questions purchasers might have. Households are limited to two trees.

As for the other trees, Popp plans to have them planted in events around Arbor Day in April. The city is looking for volunteers to help plant the trees, both on private and city land. All of the trees should be planted within this year.