Downtown trees are counted in Wilton
There are 109 trees in Wilton Center, according to an inventory completed by the Wilton Tree Committee. Most are shade trees along the streets and storefronts.
The inventory was one of several ongoing projects in Wilton Center funded by a grant from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The five-year-old committee is under the auspices of the Environmental Affairs Department and focuses on protecting, preserving and maintaining trees on public property.
The grant has also enabled the committee to develop a management plan for future maintenance and replacement of trees, and initiate a partnership with private landowners in Wilton Center to maintain trees.
The tree inventory includes each tree’s location, size, and health, and recommendation for maintenance or replacement, Kate Throckmorton, committee chair, said.
“When we started in 2008, we had significant tree cover and a lot were declining,” she said of Wilton Center. “No one had been actively managing the street trees.”
With some needing to be taken out, the committee started at the library. “Quite a few” were taken out, she said, and more than 10 planted in their stead.
“The focus is to always have a healthy tree canopy in the [town] center,” she said. “There are better ways to prune trees than others for their health. We are on the lookout to correct poorly maintained trees.”
For example, there was a row of maples entangled in overhead wires in front of the Village Market on Old Ridgefield Road.
“They were continually getting pruned and their centers had rotted out. We had those taken out and they have been replanted,” Ms. Throckmorton said. That was three to four years ago, and all the trees, which are now on the town right-of-way, were donated.
The state grant encouraged the committee to reach out to private landowners.
“Our committee would reach out to landowners to have tree work performed on their private property for the goal of increasing tree health,” Ms. Throckmorton said. “The cost for the work was split between the town and the owners. The state reimburses the town costs.”
When the committee looks to replace a tree, it looks for “the right tree in the right place,” she said, “avoiding conflict with utilities, sidewalk, site lines, etc., and planting native species whenever possible. We have a long list of trees that are tolerant of the Center restraints and stresses. It is always best to mix up the type of trees you plant and not create a monoculture in any one area.”
Under wires, the committee looks to what are called understory trees, those that do not grow very tall and can easily be managed. They include flowering trees like dogwoods.
“The oldest trees we have are on the town green,” Ms. Throckmorton said. “It hasn’t been impacted for a long time and they are some of the healthiest trees we have.”
More than 50 trees have been planted in Wilton Center under the program, and the committee seeks donations for each new tree. The committee has tree donation and bench donation programs that enable a supporter to make a donation in someone’s honor or memory. Trees may be sponsored for $300 or $500, depending on type, and bench sponsorships are $1,600.
Benches are marked with a memorial plaque and each donated tree includes a brick marker with the donor’s name, type of tree and the honoree.
For information, visit the Tree Committee page at wiltonct.org. Click on Departments, Environmental Affairs and Tree Committee. Information is also available by calling 203-563-0180.