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DailyTidings.com
  • CHANGING FACE OF ASHLAND

    Plaza maple dies

    Construction likely weakened tree
  • A towering maple on the downtown Plaza has died and is most likely the victim of a major Plaza reconstruction project that wrapped up last year.
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  • A towering maple on the downtown Plaza has died and is most likely the victim of a major Plaza reconstruction project that wrapped up last year.
    "I suspect it just didn't survive the construction," said Ashland Parks and Recreation Department Director Don Robertson. "It was shallow rooted and people tried to protect the roots but I guess it was too much for it."
    During the controversial Plaza reconstruction, several mature trees suffering in the tight urban setting were removed and smaller new trees were planted. The tall maple was one of the few mature trees left intact.
    Some residents complained the removal of mature shade trees left the Plaza too exposed to the hot sun.
    The reconstruction project included the installation of new pavers and low concrete seating walls.
    A square of open ground was left around the maple, with a concrete seating wall and benches bordering the mulch-covered ground.
    Parks workers noticed the maple was suffering this summer. A hot spell earlier this month that saw temperatures soar past 100 degrees may have hastened the tree's demise, Robertson said.
    "We started hitting it harder with fertilizer and water, but it couldn't be saved," said Robertson, noting that tree roots collect nutrients and water.
    Parks workers will examine the dead tree to see if it poses a hazard. It will probably be cut down, he said.
    A new replacement tree appropriate for the location will likely be planted in the fall, Robertson said.
    Meanwhile, the Ashland Downtown Beautification Committee is considering a host of beautification projects that could include Plaza enhancements.
    Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.
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