Hamilton volunteers plant dozens of trees

Volunteers in Hamilton have planted dozens of trees in the city, partly in honor of Arbor Day, which was Friday, April 28.

In the Riverside Natural Area, Kathy and Troy Schwable and the Hamilton Hamilton Conservation Corps have been removing honeysuckle and other invasive plants, converting some of it into prairie.

Last year, about an acre of the area was cleared out and volunteers planted 100 swamp white oak seedlings to reforest the site in the place that’s under control of Hamilton’s utilities near River Road and the city’s wastewater treatment plant and tended by the Hamilton Parks Conservancy.

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Using a “Trecycle” grant this year, volunteers cleared about four acres along the river using Parks Conservancy equipment, and on half of that area, “we planted 40 native trees from the grant,” said Hamilton’s arborist, Dave Bienemann.

That included six pin oak, six sycamore trees, six sweet gum trees, six black gum trees, six hackberry trees, two burr oak and eight buckeye trees, all planted April 18.

“We additionally got, from the Butler County Soil and Water Conservation District, 100 red bud tree seedlings,” and those were planted April 27 by volunteers and the city’s tree board, he said. On Friday, which was Arbor Day, using a grant from the Ohio Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, volunteers, city staff and parks staff planted 25 chestnut trees and six butternut trees.

Bienemann said Miami University Middletown’s Carolyn Kieffer, a biology professor and president of the American Chestnut Foundation’s Ohio chapter, “brought the trees down and provided us with guidance and instruction on how to properly plant the chestnut trees.”

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“We got everything in the ground and had a great day of it,” Bienemann said.

“We typically do the tree planting in the last two weeks of April, on the seedlings, so we’re done for the year,” Bienemann said.

Officials also celebrated Arbor Day by planting a tree with fifth graders at Highland Elementary.

Meanwhile, crews this spring will be planting 100 street trees on the city’s east side, through a contract with Jeffrey Allen Corp. of Cincinnati.

The city plans to buy signage where the chestnuts were planted, “and then, as they’re growing, probably later this fall, we’ll offer educational tours of all these trees we’re planting on the various locations at the Riverside Natural Area, so if people want to see the chestnuts, or the swamp white oaks, the red buds, the native-tree restoration area, we can give tours out there if they want,” Bienemann said.

People interested in helping with future tree plantings can contact Bienemann at dave.bienemann@hamilton-oh.gov.

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