ST. GEORGE – On a hill overlooking the regional water reclamation facility on the edge of the Bloomington neighborhood of St. George is the city’s tree farm. Row after row of young trees, up to 1,700 overall, sit on 10 acres and provide the city with trees for its many parks and other infrastructure.
“We plant about 500 trees (a year) throughout the city,” said Larry Shane, parks manager and city forester for the City of St. George, as members of the City Council and others toured the site Thursday.
City arborist Tim Hopkinson said the tree farm is home to 17 varieties of trees that include ash, mulberry, oak and others. The farm supplies trees to city parks, street medians and also replaces damaged or dying trees across the city.
The tree farm itself looked rather grim Thursday with the majority of the trees bare of foliage, but Hopkinson said the tree farm is much better looking the warmer weather hits and the leaves return.
Having the tree farm has helped keep costs down while also keeping the number of trees planted in the city consistent, even during the lean-budget years of the Great Recession, Shane said.
“It’s like having a savings account of trees,” Shane said. Yet even with the tree farm, the city remains a big customer of area nurseries, he said.
Having the trees on hand really came in handy after hundreds in town were killed off by the freeze in the winter of 2013-14, Hopkinson said.
The visit to the tree farm was part of an overall tour of the regional water reclamation facility. While there, the City Council was updated on the Shade Tree Board’s efforts to lessen potential confusion over ownership of certain trees in the city.
In the past some homeowners and business owners have removed trees without knowing they were city property. The Shade Tree Board hopes to curtail the problem by putting tags on trees marking them as city-owned and protected.
Irrigation water is supplied to the tree farm from the water reclamation plant that treats water from St. George and other area municipalities.
The facility is able to process millions of gallons of water a day and release cleaned, treated water into the Virgin River. Solid waste separated from the treated water is taken to the county landfill.
See more: No Filter: No crap, follow the flush – Paul and Grady visit the reclamation facility
The facility itself is set on the outskirts of the Bloomington area, away from homes where the not-so-pleasant aroma given off by the untreated water may prove nasally-offensive to neighboring residents.
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