As of August 2018, The “tree succession project” is now moving into the next phase of “Hurricane IRMA tree replacement”.
The powerful tropical storm IRMA that struck Coral Gables in September of 2017 eradicated approximately 1000 trees from our public swales, common areas, and parks.
This number does not count trees lost within private property. The tree debris removal , stump removal, and hazardous tree trimming clean-up efforts were an enormous undertaking, but were substantially completed in the Summer of 2018. In July of 2018, the City of Coral Gables commission approved the budget for the purchase of 1000 new trees and palms from Florida nurseries to replenish our urban tree canopy losses.
The City landscape services division team of horticulturalists, arborists, and landscape architects are visiting field nurseries during August and September of 2018 to hand select and tag the potential new trees in the field nurseries to ensure the City is receiving the best quality Florida number one grade tree stock available. We have chosen to plant tree species that were proven to be extremely resilient during storm events with the goal of long-term tree canopy sustainability.
The quantities, species and sizes at time of planting of replacement trees consist of:
Live oaks were chosen as the predominant large shade tree, as they have proven to be one of the City’s most resilient and sturdy evergreen shade trees sustaining storms and challenges related to trees in an urban environment. The Live oak is a large shade tree that should mature to a height of at least 75’ and will spread wide enough to provide shady archways over streets and common areas. The Bulnesia was selected as a flowering tree alternative to add splashes of yellow color during the warm months. The Bulnesia should mature to a height of 20’-30’ tall and has a soft lacey texture that is friendly to planting near power lines and other utilities.
Coconut Palms are a common street tree in many neighborhoods in Coral Gables and were selected to be used in the historically traditional coconut palm streetscapes that we have grown accustomed to seeing in the historic photographs of our City, especially at the historic entrances, around our golf courses, and near the Biltmore Hotel.
The new trees will be received in our delivery staging areas, inspected by our landscape services professionals, and will be planted during the late Summer, Fall and Winter of 2018. By the first quarter of 2019, it is expected that all 1000 trees will be planted. Plantings are scheduled to begin in the most Northern section of the City, zone one, and will proceed South through zones two – five during the course of planting operations.
On behalf of the landscape services division of the public works department, we appreciate your patience as our landscape crews work along the edges of the City streets planting, staking, watering, and maintaining the new trees that will greatly enhance our neighborhood streets by providing environmental, social, and economic benefits to our City for generations to come. Please contact the landscape services division at 305-460-5135 for any further information.