Several years ago, in an art class during my undergraduate days, I fell in love with a sycamore tree. A sycamore tree has such spectacular beauty, tremendous presence and arrogant stature with splotched branches and huge leaves that nature may well consider it a masterpiece. Now who is to take care of the resources such as the sycamore that bring beauty, economy, usefulness, safety and aesthetics to our community?
A city ordinance appointed the Warrensburg Tree Board with such a purpose, specifically “to protect and encourage the protection of trees, shrubs, bushes and other plants; to provide for public health, safety and general welfare; to promote and preserve the city’s aesthetic value, regulate and control the planting, maintenance and removal of trees, shrubs, bushes and other plants on and adjacent to public property, right-of-way and easements within the city; and manage the city’s community urban forest in a strong, healthy condition for today and for the future.”
Members of the Tree Board include Stephen Wilson, chair; Bonnie Seymour, vice chair; Jay Raveill, secretary; Ray Crisp and Paul Shaffer, who was just recently appointed to the board by the mayor. Jason McCarty serves as liaison to the city, and Chuck Connor represents the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The board meets at 4 p.m. in the Community Center on the third Thursday of each month. The public is encouraged to attend.
The duties and responsibilities of the Warrensburg Tree Board include:
(a) The board shall develop a management plan for the planting, care, cultivation, pruning and removal of trees and shrubs located in city parks, on street rights-of way, and other city-owned property. The plan may include provisions designating the species of trees and shrubs to be planted, preserved and removed or replaced. Such plan shall be presented annually to the administrative committee who will make recommendation to the city council for approval. Upon acceptance and approval by the city council, such plan shall constitute the official comprehensive public tree and shrub plan for the public trees and shrubs of the City of Warrensburg.
(b) The board shall serve as an educational and informational resource to citizens regarding the proper planting, preservation, care, removal and replacement of trees and shrubs.
For every tree that we have, we are likely to have a dedicated lover. And that’s all very well and good. But we have a cautionary note for the lover of the tree of heaven. That tree is banned in Warrensburg, as it is too invasive and has a number of other bad characteristics.
Nature has a way of encouraging us to tolerate bad characteristics of trees such as leaves, fallen branches, and droppings such as acorns. I certainly know the pain in picking up massive leaves from the beautiful sycamore.