Eye Piece: The Grind

Arbor Day is celebrated as a day to plant trees, but as Chief Photographer Chuck Oedsma finds, there is much more to taking care of the cities trees than just planting them in the ground

“This is normal tree process,” said Wyatt Wolfe, the city’s Arborist. ” We’re getting all these stumps ground that we ground from the winter and last year. Right around 500 stumps.”

” I love trees. But I have to do the tough part of tree maintenance. Which is taking them down. Being, watching what this emerald ash borer is doing. And diseases to all the trees. And tree maintenance,” said Wolfe.

“We get lots of complaints,” said Wolfe. “Just the simple fact that we’re taking live trees down.”

“We’re seeing this disease Progress here in La Crosse. Its progressing faster than people are realizing,” said Wolfe. “And we need to get the word out that these have to be taken care of, taken care of when their alive. It’s safer for us. It costs more to take a dead tree down.”

“Generally, once we’re done grinding it. What you saw the guys do the other day, today, That’s how we leave the site,” said Wolfe. “And if the home owner wants to take care of it they can go ahead and do, Otherwise we will come back, we’ll take the stump out we’ll plant a tree.”

“If your jogging in the area, walking your dog in the area, and you see this machine. Please just avoid me.”

” We get the tree out, we get the stump out, then the next step is to get the tree in the ground,” said Wolfe. “That we will be starting soon. Probably start planting after Arbor Day.”

The city is planning on planting 500 trees this year, many in the same place as those that were cut down.