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Tree Hugging Isn’t Just for Hippies

May 15 |19:39 PM
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 19:39

treehugger 300HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/15/12) – Usually, when we think of trees and their purpose, we first think of their beauty and the fantastic shade they provide during the summer months. Often, we overlook the true importance of these magnificent giants.

Trees are important for many reasons. Trees keep our air supply fresh by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. One acre of trees removes up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide each year. That is the amount of carbon a car puts out after having driven about 8,700 miles. The amount of oxygen produced by an acre of trees per year equals the amount consumed by 18 people each year. One tree alone can produce 260 pounds of oxygen each year.

Above the ground, trees provide shade and shelter, reducing yearly heating and cooling costs by 2.1 billion dollars. They can cause buildings to become up to 20 degrees cooler in the summer. Trees actually lower air temperature by evaporating water in their leaves. Trees also cut down on noise pollution by acting as sound barriers. They provide protection from downward fall of rain, sleet and hail as well as reduce storm run-off and the possibility of flooding. Trees also provide food and shelter for wildlife.

Below the ground tree roots stabilize soil and prevent erosion. They also improve water quality by slowing and filtering rain water, as well as protecting aquifers and watersheds.

Those involved with America in Bloom understand why trees are so important to our community, specifically the Urban Forestry Committee.

SurfKY News was able to sit down with committee co-chairs, Christine Oeschlager and Ruthann Padgett, to discuss what they have in store for Madisonville this year. The committee is currently planning its first meeting and there is much to discuss.

“We’re just getting started and we are pretty excited about it,” said Oeschlager, a Forester with the Kentucky Division of Forestry. “I feel like we are making good progress.”

“This is the first time I’ve been affiliated with this,” shared Padgett, business manager for the Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation (EDC). “Just reading and looking at everything America in Bloom evaluates in urban forestry, it was actually pretty fascinating.”

Urban Forestry is one of the categories Madisonville will be judged in for the nation-wide America in Bloom contest. Last year Madisonville scored quite high in the Urban Forestry category despite the tree loss the city has had due to the 2009 ice storm.

urbantrees 300“The judges from last year were really and truly impressed with our community and how well we recovered from the 2009 ice storm,” said Shane Browning, member of the AIB Steering Committee.

“We do have a beautiful area that is still recovering, and I guess, is still going to be recovering for a long time,” said Padgett. “Since last years America in Bloom contest the city has planted 160 new trees in the park alone. There were also about 500 seedlings passed out in the community over the last year.”

The Urban Forestry Committee plans to properly mulch around some of the city’s newer trees as part of their efforts towards AIB this year. Mulching may seem like one of the simplest things you could do, but it could also be one of the simplest things you do incorrectly.

“Many people mulch in the ‘volcano style’,” pointed out Padgett.

“Putting mulch up against the tree actually traps moisture in, which can rot the tree bark,” explained Oeschlager. “It also encourages the tree to develop roots up out of the ground. The tree thinks that the mulch is soil, so it sprouts roots that come out above the ground. It isn’t good for the tree. You always want to encourage trees to root properly. A lot of people think more is better with mulch, but really, all you need is just a few inches in a flat area.”

Another idea the committee is looking into is placing watering bags on newer trees in the city of Madisonville.

“They are called gators,” said Oeschlager. “They were suggested by the judging panel last year. It’s just a bag with tiny holes perforated in it. They are filled with water and the bag allows for the slow, gradual, deep watering that trees really need.”

Last year’s AIB judge panel had an interesting idea for Madisonville. Some areas in the community might qualify as a Certified National Wildlife Habitat Area. The Urban Forestry committee is exploring those possibilities and is hoping to work with various entities in the community to see if the community would benefit from such a venture.

The Urban Forestry Committee has some exciting ideas in the works for Madisonville. SurfKY News will keep the community up-to-date as things progress. In the meantime, the committee is focusing a lot on educating the community.

“It really doesn’t take a lot of effort to get some information out there,” said Oeschlager. “People really want to do the right thing for their trees, but they just don’t necessarily know how, or they have false information. We have a lot of information available and we are going to find a way to get that out there.”

The committee will be passing out information at the upcoming Friday Night Live event. The pamphlets they intend to pass out will include information on tree care, pruning and planting tips.

“The education part really is the most exciting part,” said Padgett. “It becomes long-term when you teach someone how to do something and they share that information with someone new.”

For more information on trees and proper tree care visit any of the following websites:

To read previous articles regarding Madisonville’s participation in the AIB project click the titles below.

Put Your Words To Work, Shape Madisonville’s Future Today

What Does Your Front Door Say

Color – Impacting Madisonville

Jessica Dockrey
SurfKY News

Copyright © 2012 SurfKY News Group, Inc. all rights reserved. is an eNewspaper providing local news FREE to Kentucky 24/7. Read Statewide Kentucky News, Sports, Obituaries and more for Kentucky covering: Calloway, Christian, Daviess, Henderson, Hopkins, McCracken, Muhlenberg, Warren, and Webster Counties as well as the Kentucky Lakes Area.


Written by vaphc

May 16, 2012 at 11:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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