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Vail giving away trees, urging caution on pesticides

June 10, 2019, 11:24 am

The Town of Vail is giving away young trees for planting through Thursday, June 13, and simultaneously urging the cautious use of pesticides on mature trees. Here’s a pair of press releases on arbor-related issues:

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The Town of Vail is sponsoring the distribution and giveaway of 100 native trees and shrubs as part of the annual Trees for Vail program. Beginning Monday, June 10, Vail residents or property owners who show proof of Vail residency will be eligible to pick up a free one-gallon tree or native shrub. The trees will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis and will be limited to one tree per household. 

The tree and shrub giveaway will be taking place at the Community Recycling drop off center, 75 S. Frontage Road, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and will continue through Thursday, June 13 or until all the trees are gone.

The town’s environmental sustainability office is organizing the event. This year the giveaway is focused on native species to the area. This includes quaking aspen, honeysuckle twinberry, red osier dogwood, chokecherry, alpine currant, yellow flowering currant, thinleaf alder, kinnikinnick and serviceberry.

Planting native trees in Vail will replace those that have been lost over the years to insect infestation by the mountain pine beetle and needle scale. Other benefits include enhancing air and water quality, reducing carbon emissions and improving habitat in Vail with species native to our mountain region. 

Trees for Vail was initiated in 1992 by community members to screen Interstate 70 and reduce noise pollution and continued until 1998. The program returned in 2009 and has included volunteer planting projects along Gore Creek, at Donovan and Stephens parks, and the golf course, as well as the free public giveaway. Help us celebrate the summer solstice by planting a native tree or shrub.

For details about the upcoming tree planting activities, contact Pete Wadden, the town’s watershed education coordinator, at 970-479-2144.

Town of Vail Issues Caution Regarding Use of Pesticides

Many of the pesticides used to protect trees in Vail can unintentionally kill beneficial insects, both on land and in Gore Creek. As a way to reduce the negative impacts of pesticide use, town officials are asking homeowners, property managers and commercial applicators to carefully consider what they are spraying and how it is being applied, and to implement the use of Integrated Pest Management practices for all pest control. 

The town’s Public Works and Environmental Sustainability departments have produced resource guides available for download here and at LoveVail.org that provide important recommendations regarding the use of pesticides in Vail. “Careful Where You Point that Thing,” a pocket guide to safe landscaping practices, fertilizer and pesticide use, is available at LoveVail.org or in print at the town offices. Homeowners can reduce the use and impacts of pesticides by considering some of the following recommendations:

  • Now that the mountain pine beetle epidemic is behind us, lodgepole pines no longer need annual spraying. 
  • At the same time, a new insect, spruce beetle, is attacking natural spruce trees along Gore Creek. Attaching MCH pheromone packets to susceptible trees and removing affected trees before spring can slow their spread without the use of harmful sprays.
  • Work with a licensed applicator and request trunk and root applications over foliar applications. Improper pesticide use can be particularly harmful to aquatic insects, and can quickly wipe out sensitive species like mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies for an entire season.

The Town of Vail encourages Integrated Pest Management techniques that include mechanical, cultural and biological pest control options over the use of chemicals whenever possible. These integrated resources can be found online from the Colorado State Extension office at CSU IPM.

Gregg Barrie, senior landscape architect, is encouraging property owners to take a few minutes to review the pesticide practices resource guides, then share your concerns about stream health to your commercial applicator and help get Gore Creek off of the list of impaired waterways.

For more information, contact Barrie at 970-479-2337 or email gbarrie@vailgov.com.

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