Many drivers discovered that Middletown Road between Stilwell Drive (at Bayonet Farm) south to McCampbell Road (at Village School) was closed during business hours on Wednesday – Friday, August 24-26.
During that time a crew of four from Atlantic Tree Service removed or pruned some 60-70 trees that were dead or seriously hazardous and likely to fall on cars or school buses
The Holmdel Shade Tree Committee had received a Business Stimulus Incentive Grant from the New Jersey Forest Service funded by the federal government to do this work. The goal of the grant program was to provide work to members of the green industry in New Jersey.
Many communities chose to use the funding to plant trees. Holmdel’s Shade Tree Committee chose to take care of the hazardous tree situation on this section of town that had the highest concentration of dangerous trees as determined by a hazard tree survey done by the Davey Resource Group in 2008.
The survey provided maps and descriptive data of all trees on public property deemed to be in need of removal or pruning as of that date. This work was paid for by another state Forest Service grant.
The survey showed that Holmdel had 665 trees in poor condition, 174 in critical condition and 234 trees that were dead along our streets and in our township parks.
The Shade Tree Committee thanks not only the Atlantic Tree Service staff for their technical work but also the Holmdel Police for putting up the sawhorses and cones to close off the road during the working hours. The crane used to remove the trees filled the entire street precluding vehicular traffic.
The use of the large crane was essential as the majority of the trees to be removed, mostly black locusts, were entangled in power lines. Only certified tree services are permitted to deal with the dangers of these lines.
Previously members of the Shade Tree Committee had marked the trees to be removed or pruned with orange tape using the information provided in the tree survey as well experience in assessing hazardous trees as some specimens had become more dangerous with the passage of time since the survey.
All tree parts removed were chipped and removed from the site. No stumps were ground to avoid any problems with erosion.
The Shade Tree Committee will continue to monitor trees along the full length of Middletown Road and other streets in town with aging tree concentrations.
The timing of this removal couldn’t have been better. Hurricane Irene, with its powerful winds, swept through New Jersey on August 28.
Jenni Blumenthal is the chairman of the Holmdel Shade Tree Committee.