Tree Preservation at Hartford’s Bushnell Park

On Tuesday, April 10 Bruce Powell, an Arborist from SavATree’s Bloomfield, CT branch was a panelist at the New England Chapter-ISA Workshop on Maintenance & Preservation of Mature Trees at Bushnell Park. Joining Bruce on the panel were Hartford City Forester, Heather Dionne, Connecticut Urban Forestry Coordinator, Chris Donnelly and Dr. Richard Cowles. The event was an opportunity for attendees to learn more about Bushnell Park’s diverse tree collection and the management of their trees including protection from the Emerald Ash Borer.

Conceived by Reverend Horace Bushnell in the late 1850’s, and designed by Swiss-born architect Jacob Weidenmann, Bushnell Park was built to be an oasis in the middle of a then-struggling and run down urban area. According to Bushnell, what was needed was “an opening in the heart of the city itself, to which citizens will naturally flow in their walks. A place where children will play and the invalid go to breathe the freshness of nature. A place for holiday scenes and celebrations; a green carpet of ground, where high and low, rich and poor will exchange looks; an outdoor parlor opened for the cultivation of good manners and a right social feeling. A place of life and motion that will make us more conscious of being one people.”

During the event, Bruce Powell and his fellow panelists toured the park with over 40 attendees discussing the care and preservation of the parks 400+ trees including descendants of the historical Charter Oak. Panelists also discussed the importance of planning and consultation with arboriculture professionals. Illustrating this point was a Scarlett Oak that had been surrounded by a skating rink, creating conditions that made it difficult for the plant to survive. In an effort to save the Scarlett Oak, the flex paving product was removed and replaced with an organic compost soil then mulched. The tree also received deep root watering and kelp treatments. Bruce and his team are hoping that their efforts will result in new leaves this spring.

As one of only two companies contracted to work in Bushnell Park, SavATree has a number of responsibilities including fine pruning to enhance the trees beauty and structural integrity. Bruce has also worked closely with Heather Dionne, Hartford City Forester to devise a plan to protect the Ash trees of Bushnell Park from the destructive Emerald Ash Borer. Additionally, the Consulting Group at SavATree also conducted a comprehensive tree survey for Bushnell Park, providing a detailed overview of the entire canopy.

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