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Why do urban forestry department plant city trees that are all the same?

Issue: A reader asked that question, noting that elm trees were “wiped out” by Dutch elm disease and that ash trees similarly were destroyed by the emerald ash borer.

“Doesn’t it make sense to plant multiple species on trees on every block?” he asked, noting that it would be more difficult to ruin the urban landscape.

Status: Tara Blecha, interim crew chief in the city’s Forestry Section, said planting the same species has its advantages. She also noted the city has planted multiple species.

“Historically, we have planted all one species for the ease of planting and pruning,” Blecha said. She noted the city plants hundreds of trees annually with about 20 different varieties represented.

Blecha said a good example of a variety of plantings currently can be seen on the 2300 block of North 89th Street where there is a mix of three tree species: ginkgo, linden and swamp white oak.

Correction: Last week, Ask Now addressed a question regarding lead laterals connected to the city’s water. In our print edition, we incorrectly referred to the sanitary sewer system instead of the water supply. We regret the error.

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