Tucson to replace dead trees

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - If approved, the City of Tucson will pay Pima County $25 per tree to replace hundreds of trees that are dead in city rights of way and in medians.

In the first phase, the city will replace hundreds of trees but in the future, it's hoped that will increase to thousands of trees.

Dayrl Cole, head of the Tucson Transportation Department says the new trees will be a variety that uses less water and change heat island issues.

But he says it's also for appearances.

"You feel better driving down a street that's well landscaped," he says.

A well maintained landscaped is also valuable for tourists, companies who might want to locate here and for the aesthetics of people who live here.

The city will buy the trees in 50 tree increments and has set aside $5,000 for the purchase.

The city admits it has neglected it's trees for the past several years because it could not afford to replace them because of a tight budget.

But things "are looking better," says Cole.

Cole says the new plants won't be more than 30 inches high and have a root system that will allow it to grow down and not out where they can become tangled and snarled.

Trees also save energy because of the shade.

They keep homes cooler requiring less emery.

There's also a concern because many trees in the Tucson rights of way have grown into the power lines.

"That's a safety issue," Cole says.

Requiring TEP to come out to fix a powerline felled by a tree is a lot more expensive than replacing the tree in the first place.

They're good for pedestrians as well.

"I know if I see a tree a few feet down the sidewalk, that's where I'm going to stand," he says.

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