Lexington is losing a lot of trees to disease and poor placement near streets. City Forrester Tim Queary says too many trees are squeezed between sidewalks and the road. “We need seven feet at a minimum between the sidewalk and the curb if we want the tree to live a long healthy life. But right now in a new development, we only have five and a half feet,” said Queary. Council member Kevin Stinnett says trees can be costly. Their leaves clogs storm sewers while low hanging limbs can block sidewalks and mailboxes.
“We’re spending a lot of money. We’re requiring developers as you pointed out to put them in, but after 15 years everyone is taking them out or we’re having to spend money to replace sidewalks as homeowners,” said Stinnett.
Tree proponents would like to see more trees moved from the roadside and into front yards. Before any move can be taken, council member Bill Farmer says they need a plan for funding the work. Then it can be included as the next budget is negotiated.
Arborist Dave Leonard Tuesday also told council members the emerald ash borer could kill some 360 ash trees in Shiloto Park. Another pest is also a threat. If the Asian Long Horn Beetle arrives in Lexington, Leonard says 13 varieties of tree would be at risk.