• Beltsville News

On The Agenda: May 2021 By President Karen M. Coakley


Our Next Virtual Meeting will be on Wednesday, May 19th at 7 pm. Information for the Zoom Meeting will be sent out on the Beltsville News Facebook Page & Nextdoor.com. Jason Sprouls will be our guest speaker this month to discuss Right Tree, Right Place program is a Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation tasked with the associated care of trees planted in the county right-of-way. We are a community-based program and work diligently to empower our community partners to ensure that our work reflects the interests and heritage of the neighborhood.

The program has been in place for 10 years, and we have worked across all nine council districts in over 250 communities. In that time, we have removed over 16,000 high-risk trees and planted approximately 52,000 trees. The program was first started as a tree risk mitigation program; the county identified the need to immediately remove Bradford Pear trees across the county. These trees were widely planted because they grow fast and have showy flowers in the spring. However, as they mature, they form narrow, weak branch unions (called included bark) which are known to be brittle and break apart under routine weather events. These trees pose an immediate threat to public safety and welfare, and it is our priority to remove these trees. Our second goal is urban tree canopy expansion. We replant trees where they are removed, and plant new sites where space allows. We carefully select species that are fully understood and best suited for each site, meaning, we pay careful consideration to overhead and utilities, intersections/driveways, sightlines, and any other potential site use conflicts to minimize tree conflicts now and throughout the tree’s life. We identified your community through our scoping process due to the high density of large pear trees that we need to comprehensively address.

This program is most successful when we actively engage and empower communities and their leadership. That said, we are adaptable and work to best serve the community as best we can to ensure our work is well received. A fundamental step in doing so is joining a community meeting (which you said will be the week of May 19th) and presenting our program to residents. This will be a great time for residents to get information, ask questions, and submit feedback ahead of our work in your community.

If you have a topic that you would like to discuss at a future meeting, I can be reached at 301.937.3490 or karenmcoakley@msn.com. I hope you can join us on Wednesday, May 19th at 7 pm.

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