ROCKINGHAM — Several downtown trees are again standing tall after strong winds from recent storms laid them low.
City planner John Massey said Thursday that a few had fallen because the stakings have not held during the winds, but city workers re-staked those trees as needed.
Although some had been blown over, Massey said none of them were damaged.
“This is a fairly common problem with newly transplanted trees where the root system is not yet established and the trunk is not yet strong enough to fully support the canopy and blossoms in heavy rain and wind,” he said in an email. “We saw the same issue with a few of the trees along East Franklin Street when they were initially planted 2012.”
Massey said once the root system is established and the trunk strengthens, it will no longer be an issue.
The Rockingham City Council approved in December a plan to install 41 Muskogee crepe myrtles along the 200, 300 and 400 blocks of East Washington Street and the 100 block of South Hancock Street.
The trees replaced the European hornbeams, Forum black gums and Allee lacebark elms that formerly lined the streets in early April to correct “ongoing maintenance issues.”
The former trees had grown so large, Massey said, that extensive pruning — which was not good for the long-term health of the tree and negatively affected their aesthetic value in the streetscape — was necessary to keep them off adjacent buildings.
“At maturity, the Muskogee has a more of a compact height and width, which is better suited for the streetscape in the project area,” Massey said late last year.
Planter grates and LED light fixtures were also installed during the project.
Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.