For the 23rd straight year, the City of Adel has received the Tree City USA Award. They received the award for 2016 at the 27th Annual Community Forestry Awards Luncheon on April 6 at the Forte Banquet and Conference Center in Des Moines.

The award was presented by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau and Adel was one of 80 Iowa cities to receive the award.

“The Tree City USA award is a symbol for communities who have made a commitment to the management of public trees,” said Paul Tauke, state forester in a press release. “The City of Adel has provided an outstanding example for other Iowa communities by enhancing our forest resources and demonstrating the great value of trees in providing multiple benefits for future generations.”

Any city in Iowa can apply to receive the award. To be eligible a city must have either a city forester or an active tree board; have a tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita annually for its community forestry program; and have a tree planting and maintenance plan. They also have to have an Arbor Day proclamation, which was read, approved, and signed by Mayor Jim Peters at the Adel City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 11.

The City’s Parks and Recreation Board doubles as the City’s Tree Board.

Nick Schenck, Director of Adel Parks and Recreation, said that the standards for the award usually change every couple of years and this last year, there was more of an emphasis put on the seemingly inevitable arrival of emerald ash borers.

Schenck said that they have started budgeting to be able to treat ash trees “of a certain size” in public areas in Adel. They would also have money budgeted to take ash trees down if they were not treated and died, due to the ash borers.

He said that they trim a lot of trees in the fall and that’s when they look for symptoms of ash borers. One symptom is seeing an S shape in the bark when they peel a piece off the tree.

“We haven’t seen that yet,” Schenck said. “Do I think we will? Yeah. I think we will.”

The treatments on the ash trees will be done every two years, and they could start in August. A chemical called “Tree-age” will be injected to ash trees of a size that has not yet been determined.

Schenck said that while they will treat the trees of a certain size, he understands that they won’t be able to save all of them.

“We’re going to lose a lot of ash trees,” Schenck said, adding that about 20 percent of the city-owned trees in Adel are ash trees. He said that ash trees that are on private property and at residences would be up to the homeowners to treat.

Schenck said that if someone in Adel has a question about ash borers and their own ash trees or thinks they are seeing symptoms of ash borers, they can call him at Adel City Hall.

One way the Adel Parks and Recreation Department promotes new trees being planted in the City of Adel is through their Memorial Tree Program. This program allows people in Adel to donate a tree to the City’s parks in memory of a loved one.

Schenck said that he thinks they may have as many as 30 trees per year are planted through this program.

The City is also working on updating their ordinances in regards to trees. One update would be to no longer allow trees to be planted in the “right of way,” in the space in between the curb and the sidewalk.

“That’s where a lot of your utilities are, so we’re actually recommending not to do that (plant trees there),” Schenck said.

A new ordinance they are working on would require new homes in Adel to have two trees planted at the property for houses and townhomes before the homeowner can occupy the home.

“Most times it would be the developer that would be putting in a couple trees,” Schenck said. “We’re just not seeing people plant trees like they used to, especially in some of these newer areas.”

Schenck anticipates that the new ordinances would likely be passed this summer, possibly in June or July and would also help out with them receiving Tree City USA Awards in the future as well.