Great Barrington to plant variety of trees as Main Street project wraps


GREAT BARRINGTON >> Tom Ingersoll spent most of Friday afternoon putting up wooden poles on the sidewalks of Main Street.

The poles, 81 in all, had the names of various types of trees affixed to them.

"I wanted to show everyone which trees were going where," he said. "Now, they can check the names and Google them to their hearts' content."

After more than two years of repairs and improvements on Main Street, which involved the removal in 2014 of pear trees that lined both sides of the street, new trees soon will be planted, marking the end of the $6.2 million project.

Ingersoll, who owns and operates Ingersoll Land Care in Sheffield, drove to a nursery in Northborough and picked out the trees last week.

This week, according to Joseph Sokul, the town's Department of Public Works Superintendent, crews from Maximilian Construction will be digging up the small soil beds on Main Street and replacing the dirt with more nutrient-rich soil.

Next week, Ingersoll said, the trees will begin to go in.

"I'm not sure how fast they'll go in," Sokul said. "They're not going in all at once. Several trees a day will be put in until all 81 are planted."

He said the project should take two weeks to complete.

Town Administrator Jennifer Tabakin said at last week's Select Board meeting that town officials were excited to see the trees going up, in part because the Main Street corridor will be spruced up and in part because that phase of the work signals the reconstruction project is coming to an end.

The tree lineup was changed slightly from the initial lineup, Sokul said. The current lineup includes six Jefferson elms, four New Harmony elms, five hornbeam trees, three hophornbeams, one Katsura tree, four red maples, two oak trees, 10 cherry trees, 11 snowgoose cherry trees, six crabapple trees, four hawthorn trees, eight flowering pear trees, 13 Allegheny shade trees, one tulip tree, three yellowwood trees and, as a bonus, 10 blueberry bushes.

A Google search shed some light on some of the varieties. A hornbeam tree is characterized as a medium-sized deciduous hardwood tree; the hophornbeam tree is listed as a smaller deciduous hardwood, also known as the ironwood tree; wood is used in making longbows.

A yellowwood is a larger tree that grows yellow and creamy white petals in the spring; the tulip tree is medium-sized and known for large yellow petals somewhat in the shape of a tulip. And the petals of the hawthorn tree provide important nutrients for many types of insects.

The town chose a variety of trees to avoid a monoculture of plantings, Sokul said. And, the trees that were chosen are among the hardier in North America.

Tabakin said the town is organizing a Town Tree Association to provide basic maintenance for the trees, which became an issue with the pear trees.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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