UPDATE (Aug. 26, 2015) Bank of the West issued the following statement today:
“We recently removed a tree we believed to be partially dead and diseased, and pruned the dead branches of another tree adjacent our building. Our first and foremost focus was to ensure the safety of our customers, tenants, and employees. As we often do, we worked with a local general contractor, who consulted and hired a local tree service for these maintenance activities. Our goal was to do what we thought was in the best interest of our customers, tenants, and employees – to ensure their safety.
As a tenant in our building, we are aware of Trees Forever’s effort and commitment to planting trees and protecting our environment for a better tomorrow. We have reached out to learn more about the services they offer and future opportunities to work together, such as tree pruning.”
Original post: MARION – Even as Trees Forever experts objected, a honey locust tree was removed and another severely pruned today, right next to the nonprofit organization’s headquarters.
“It’s disappointing,” said Carole Teator, director of programs at Trees Forever, who works in the office, located above a Bank of the West branch at 770 Seventh Ave., in Marion.
The most popular spot to park in the lot was under the shade of the mature tree, she noted. The organization, which is dedicated to planting trees and environmental stewardship, leases their office space and does not make decisions about the grounds, but offered their expertise with the trees.
Frank Orr, owner of Frank’s Tree Service, said he was contacted by bank officials to remove the honey locust and trim the remaining tree.
The tree in the parking lot was dying, he said, and the other had branches that hung over a drive-through area.
“We only did what we were hired to do,” Orr said.
Dustin Hinrichs, an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist and field coordinator for Trees Forever, said the tree service worker he spoke with said the tree was “diseased,” but didn’t know what type of disease, and said it “would probably spread to the other tree.”
Hinrichs said recommendations for tree pruning call for selectively trimming dead or dying branches, and not removing more than 30 percent of the tree. Removing more causes the tree to be stressed, he noted.
Last year, the tree that was removed today had been severely pruned and Hinrichs is worried about the fate of the newly pruned tree.
Orr, who is not a certified arborist, but noted he is in his 19th year in business, said he did not trim the other tree last year.
Hinrichs said such trees could survive hundreds of years in a natural environment, but given the parking lot that surrounds them, are already under stress.
Tree removal services in Iowa are not required to have certified arborists on staff who understand tree biology and diseases.
Hinrichs, who isn’t for hire, but offers advice to communities and expertise in planting in his role at Trees Forever, said trees in parking lots require special care. They should not be mulched with rocks, which heat the roots of the tree and do not decompose.
August is typically a poor time to prune trees, he added, given the usual high temperatures that can further stress a tree.
Watch a video on the Trees Forever Facebook page.