Since its inception in May of last year the Greenwood Tree Board has been making some tough decisions around town. For instance the old oak tree that has been on the Square since 1968 had to be cut down for safety reason. In the past few years the old tree has begun to die and was an accident waiting to happen. In its place the board recommended that a Shumard Oak be planted there. “Anytime you see a tree with that much mistletoe in it it is telling you it doesn’t have very much longer to go,” said Chairman of the Tree Board, Jim Reynolds. “The top of it was dead. It was a matter of time.” Shumard Oaks were planted on the courthouse lawn as well. The Shumard was selected for its size and because it is native to the area.
In other news the board recommends that people avoid planting Bradford Pear trees as they are considered an exotic invasive species. “People like them because they are pretty in the spring with their white flowering blooms,” said Reynolds. “However, birds do spread their seeds and they can grow wild and when they do they form thorns.” Reynolds explained that the trees are not native to our area and can take over a forest. Bradford Pear trees originate from China and are widely used to landscape residential developments. However, this invasive tree is aggressive and will invade disturbed areas and displace native plant communities.
Reynolds stated that the Privet Hedge is also classified as an invasive plant and should be avoided in landscaping. “You see it everywhere,” said Reynolds.
Another danger to local trees are different varieties of beetles. Such as the Emerald Ash Borer, which is an insect native to Asia. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture states that the Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in the Detroit, MI, area in 2002; and was found in southwest Arkansas in 2014. This pest kills essentially all of the ash trees it infests. Ash, a valuable hardwood in our forests, will likely be all but eradicated from Arkansas. The UADA warns that the Borer may spread through the transport of firewood from and to campsites.
For more information about invasive insects that are threating our trees such as the Emerald Ash Borer, the Asian Long Horned Beetel and the Gypsy Moth go to uaex.edu/environment-nature/ar-invasives/invasive-insects/