BELMONT — Conservation Commission member and professional forester Scott Rolfe told selectmen Monday night that some of the trees in the village are distressed and possibly dying.
Rolfe took an inventory of the trees in the village and realized that the English oaks newly planted behind the library were poorly placed in the ground, with at least one planted with its roots still encased by the canvas bag.
He said one of the three is doing well.
Rolfe also noted that the town should look seriously at hiring an arborist to trim some of the dead branches and crowns of some of the older maples.
He also suggested that the Public Works Committee get some "Gator bags" which are bags that look like donuts that are place around the base of the tree and holds 15 gallons of water that gradually seeps into the soil. Selectmen agreed this was a good plan.
Rolfe also noted the harsh winter and very dry spring with creating additional stress on all of the trees but especially those planted as part of the Belmont Village revitalization project.
"The first three years you have to baby them," he said.
Rolfe also said that adding fertilizer to the new trees is not a good idea because nitrogen will stimulate the trees to produce more leaves but will not enable them to grow a root structure that they need in their early years.
Selectman Ron Cormier expressed his irritation about the poor planting practices. Rolfe told him he contacted the company and the employee who planted many of the new trees was no longer employed by them.
Rolfe said the company indicated it would stand by its product.
In other business, selectmen unanimously agreed to put letters of commendation in the files of town firefighters who spent three days last week extinguishing a grass fire that burned 100 acres and, at one point, threatening a housing development called Gardner's Grove. Many of them worked 18 hours days consecutively in hot conditions and dangerous terrain.
They also asked Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin to send a letter of appreciation to the multiple departments from as far away as Concord, Clairmont and Woodstock who assisted Belmont and Tilton-Northfield fire crews.
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