Saturday, September 09, 2006

County Urban Forestry Work

Upcoming Urban Forestry work:

Sarasota County’s Division of Urban Forestry will start work Sept. 11 to restore or replace some of the plantings in the median of Tuttle Avenue between Bee Ridge Road and Myrtle Street.

Temporary lane closures will be required periodically during the project. Signs, barricades and flagmen will be present as needed to ensure that vehicles and pedestrians can move about safely. Motorists should use caution while traveling through the area.

The work will include replacing trees and palms that are in decline, or no longer practical for median plantings, said Urban Forestry Manager Demetra McBride.

"The original median planting dates back to 1997, when Washingtonia palms had popular appeal," McBride said. "Our new generation of foresters and arborists now look for a combination of beauty, biology and suitability. The growth habit (extreme height and ‘telephone-pole appearance’) and maintenance needs of Washingtonias make them less than desirable as an urban aesthetic feature, especially in medians.”

She added that the tall palms are a problem in high winds.

In addition, the median has lost oak trees to traffic accidents, and a large number of the crape myrtles have declined.

"These trees will never recover, and the Washingtonias will become an increasingly incompatible and costly element," McBride said. "The project will restore Tuttle to a visually-pleasing and viable thoroughfare."

The installation of cabbage palms (native sabal), replacement oaks and a superior variety of crape myrtles will be complete by around the end of October.

For more information about the Tuttle Avenue median work, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000 and ask for Urban Forestry.

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