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The Tree Commission for the City of Leeds celebrate the planting of a new tree at Leeds Memorial Park. Pictured (L-R:)  Linda Miller, Susan Carswell, Lisa Herren, Katie Wiswall – Alabama Forestry Commission & Eddie Cook.  Photo Courtesy of Dona Bonnett

The Tree Commission for the City of Leeds completed a new project last week at Leeds Memorial Park.

A new Chinese Pistache tree was planted to replace a dead tree next to the Leeds Historical Park marque. The original tree was planted by the commission on the property of Leeds Elementary School to honor the 100th birthday of Mercolle DeShazo Whorton on July 1, 1991 with a commemorative stone.

During the 1995-96 demolition of the old school and construction of the new elementary school, the tree and commemorative stone was moved to Leeds Memorial Park. Years later, the tree perished due to the droughts and extremely hot summers so Leeds Tree Commission decided to replaced it.

As old trees perish, the commission looks for replacements that are native to Leeds so the trees will have the best opportunity to flourish. This is a process that has gone nationwide to use native species when planting trees.

Commission Chairman Eddie Cook shared, “Years ago when I first came on the commission, we had these Yoshino Cherry trees and their shelf life just isn’t that long, only about 20 to 25 years. We had them all taken down three or four years ago and replaced with American Elms. The Elms are really doing well.”

Although the Chinese Pistache is not native to Leeds, it is a very long-lived tree. On average, these particular trees live for fifty years, but some have been known to live for hundreds of years.

Planting this new tree is just one of the projects completed by Leeds Tree Commission which has been in existence since 1984. The commission is committed to the continuance of planting and preserving trees, management of trees on public property, oversees the mass cutting of trees in the city limits of Leeds and works hand in hand with the Alabama Forestry Commission.

Tree Commission members currently include Commission Chairman Eddie Cook, City Council Representative Linda Miller, Susan Carswell and Lisa Herren. Urban Forester from the Alabama Forestry Commission, Katie Wiswall, along with Commission members were present to celebrate the planting.

Leeds was recognized earlier this year for their 29th year of recognition by the Tree City USA organization which is a program run by the Arbor Day Foundation and administered in Alabama by the Forestry Commission.

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